The Financial Fraud Research Center is a joint project of the Stanford Center on Longevity and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation.

The Partnership

With the Center on Longevity’s dedication to preserving financial security throughout our extended life spans, and with the support of the FINRA Foundation’s ongoing commitment to protecting individuals from fraud, the new Financial Fraud Research Center seeks to enhance the financial security of Americans.  - Carstensen

The Center serves as a hub in the fight against financial fraud — a crime claiming billions of dollars each year. As technology’s expansion extends fraud’s reach, research must keep pace for the success of detection and prevention efforts.

The Center’s Domain

The Center’s particular focus is individual financial fraudparticularly fraud achieved using deception.  This includes crimes such as lottery fraud, investment scams, and online phishing schemes.

What does the Center do?

  1. Consolidates information—this online resource presents the latest research and news in an easily-accessible fashion.  Research across a range of disciplines (from psychology to criminology to marketing and more) is summarized, sorted, and searchable in our archive.
  2. Connects research to practice—events and conferences allow leading researchers, practitioners, advocacy groups, and others involved in the fight against financial fraud to come together to share information among and across disciplines.
  3. Catalyzes interest, research, and funding —by both providing seed funding and connecting funding opportunities to interested researchers, the Center hopes to facilitate the ability of the research community to expand our understanding, prevention, and detection of fraud.

Note: The Center does not directly address the implications of medically significant cognitive impairments on individuals’ responses to fraud.


In 2009, an expert group of practitioners, policy-makers, and researchers gathered at Stanford’s Center on Longevity to discuss this growing problem.  Against the background of a rapidly aging population and the increasing vulnerability of trillions of dollars, the group identified three urgent initiatives necessary to further fraud prevention:

1)      Consolidating information: The fraud research previously conducted was largely disjointed between academic fields and written in inaccessible language.  A single aggregator of relevant research provides interdisciplinary support to researchers and practitioners across disciplines.

2)      Connecting research to policy: Fraud research must be communicated to practitioners, advocacy groups, and policy-makers who might act upon its findings.

3)      Providing funding: Expanding our understanding of financial fraud depends upon the funding to support this research.

No other fraud center adequately provided these joint services for fighting this form of fraud.  Thanks to the discussions between participants at the Stanford/AARP Fraud Conference in 2009, and the generous funding from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, the new Financial Fraud Research Center is able to help fill these needs.

About the Research

By compiling, summarizing, and facilitating research and its dissemination, the Center helps address the following questions:

  • Who is most susceptible to fraud?
  • Who are likely perpetrators of fraud?
  • How can consumers be protected?
  • How can fraudsters be caught?
  • What is the impact (extent & cost) of fraud in the U.S.?
  • Why do people fall for fraud?
  • Where is fraud going from here?

For more information regarding research, see the “Research” tab, or click here.

In Summary

Financial fraud, as a crime of deceit for money, rests on the understanding of a range of disciplines: behavioral economics and psychology, marketing and law, finance and criminology.  While these important research questions have been addressed from a number of angles, in order to provide complete answers, we must create a complete perspective.

It is precisely this collaborative hub that the Financial Fraud Research Center provides – consolidating research from across the fields, creating the interdisciplinary connections that are necessary to form a unified, balanced, and effective understanding of fraud.

Through this understanding we can find the practical detection, prevention, and policy strategies to assist in our fight against financial fraud, and reduce the vulnerability of trillions of dollars in the hands of millions of aging Americans.