As early as 2002, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) first considered the problem of fraudulent practices that resulted in a significant adverse economic impact on world commerce and negatively affected legitimate commercial institutions. Through a series of consultations with experts and government officials who regularly encountered and combated commercial fraud and who represented different regions, perspectives, and disciplines, UNCITRAL became aware of the widespread existence of commercial fraud and its significant worldwide impact, regardless of a country's level of economic development or system of government. In considering possible responses to this threat, it was felt that education and training could play significant roles in fraud prevention, and that the identification of common warning signs and indicators of commercial fraud could be particularly useful in combating fraud.
To this end, the UNCITRAL secretariat met over the ensuing years with international experts and government officials knowledgeable in the identification and prevention of commercial fraud. The overall objective of this project was to assist in the prevention of commercial fraud by creating an easily understood and widely-disseminated document that set out indicators to assist potential victims and their organizations in the identification of behaviour that could be associated with or could constitute commercial fraud. Governments and other bodies and organizations are encouraged to disseminate these materials as widely as possible, and to encourage their use in the prevention of fraud.