The intentional use of deception, trickery, or perversion of truth for the purpose of inducing another to part with some valuable thing belonging to him or to give up a legal right. The Hebrew term rendered “defraud” (ʽa·shaqʹ; Le 6:2) has the basic sense of misusing one’s strength, power, or authority over others. It is thus also rendered ‘oppress.’ (Ec 4:1; Isa 52:4) The Greek verb a·po·ste·reʹo means “deprive; defraud; despoil.” (1Co 7:5; Mr 10:19; 1Ti 6:5) The Greek noun doʹlos (“fraud”; Ac 13:10) is also rendered “deceit.”—Mr 7:22.
Fraud, as dealt with in the Bible, is generally associated with business relationships. Dishonest business dealings are forbidden by God’s law. The Israelites were to deal honestly with one another. The hired laborer was specifically protected by the Law. (Le 19:13; De 24:14; compare Jas 5:4.) Jesus Christ included the injunction against fraud among the “commandments” of God. (Mr 10:19) Under the Law covenant, if a man defrauded his associate and later repented and brought the matter to light, confessing it, he was required to restore the full amount plus one fifth of it to the person injured, as well as to offer a guilt offering to Jehovah.—Le 6:1-7.
False forms of religion likewise are considered fraudulent in the Scriptures. Paul’s sharp denunciation of Elymas the sorcerer resulted in Elymas’ being struck with blindness because of the fraud and villainy he had practiced by “distorting the right ways of Jehovah.” (Ac 13:8-11) Paul also corrected Christians in Corinth who were taking one another to court, stating that they were wronging and defrauding their brothers by this action of going to court before unrighteous men and not before the holy ones in the congregation. They should rather suffer being defrauded than to take such matters before men of the world.—1Co 6:1-8.
The Bible frequently warns against fraud and fraudulent practices and denounces them, also pointing out that God will judge defrauders and will deliver his people from such ones.—Ps 62:10; 72:4; 103:6; Pr 14:31; 22:16; 28:16; Mic 2:1, 2; Mal 3:5.