Pink Collar Crime PSA Fraud Awareness Week

Recently I presented to a group of fire service administrators. This presentation was about fraud and embezzlement in fire districts. Of course, I had to include some #pinkcollarcrime stories because of the numbers of women stealing from fire districts. A shout out to Curt Varone for his help with these numbers. According to iWomen, there are 11,000 female career firefighters and 40,000 volunteers. From the NFPA there are roughly 1.2 million firefighters which translate to women making up roughly 4.25% of the fire service (51,000/1.2 mil). Curt has been keeping track of embezzlement cases in fire districts. Here are his results:

Insider Theft in the Volunteer service

Total cases: 360

Criminal - 188

Civil - 8

Administrative – 164 (disciplinary cases)


Women Involved - 53 (28.2%)

Married Couple - 11

Now, this is not complete but it gives a snapshot of the issue. Women are overrepresented in theft cases as compared to their numbers of employment within fire districts.

As I finish the presentation, a woman in the audience states she knows 5 women in her small community who are pink collar criminals. “I didn’t even realize I knew that many! I didn't even know it's a thing." One of the stories I talk about she knows the family.

This is why I call #pinkcollarcrime the relatable crime. We know them. We work with them. Our kids go to school with their kids. We volunteer with them. These women are much like your friends, neighbors, co-workers. These women are not scary. They are not whom we think of as “bad guys.”

My job is to educate people about fraud. You have to be aware of the employee who may be your biggest threat. In many small businesses, it is she. Never underestimate the smarts, capabilities, and power of a woman.