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How do I Become a Fraud Investigator?

By Carol Francois
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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A fraud investigator is responsible for the identification of fraud. The skills, background, and educational requirements necessary to do this job depend on the industry and position. There are three types of fraud investigators: financial industry, forensic accountants, and consumer protection.

The financial industry has specialist investigators who are dedicated to this industry. These professionals can be employed in the fraud detection department within a finance firm, a government agency, or by a large investment firm. The responsibility of these individuals is to review and investigate suspicious activity. Finance is very complex and requires a great deal of knowledge and training to properly investigate.

A fraud investigator in this industry usually has a degree in business or accounting, as well as advanced certification in auditing, investigation, and finance. He or she needs at least five years of experience working in the financial industry to qualify for a position. A background check and a personality test is a standard part of the application process for this type of job.

To obtain a position as an investigator, you can get started with an entry-level position as a financial trader. Learn how the industry works, common business practices and trends. Speak with the fraud investigation manager to find out what type of experience is required to obtain a position in the fraud department.

Forensic accountants work for large accounting firms or police agencies. They are responsible for providing the detailed analysis and evidence collecting required for court cases. These positions require long hours and meticulous work.

To become a forensic accountant, you must be a certified public accountant. In the US, additional courses are required to obtain a designation as a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. The educational requirements and standards are very high and this type of career requires a great deal of dedication, intelligence, and detailed work.

Most forensic accountants start their careers as accountants, working in an auditing firm. They obtain the additional certification while completing a wide range of audit tasks, expanding their role and experience. Someone who investigates this type of fraud must be meticulous, detail-focused and very accurate.

Fraud investigators also work in consumer protection departments within government agencies and police departments. Consumer fraud includes phone and email scams, counterfeit goods sold as legitimate, and theft. When citizens report this type of fraud, they expect a thorough investigation and resolution. These types of investigators are often called to provide evidence in criminal trials.

To become this type of investigator, a background in business, private investigation, or research is helpful. The ability to work well with people, collect information, and communicate are important skills. There are no specific educational or experience requirements for this type of job.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By subway11 — On Sep 04, 2010

Crispety- I agree with you, but a lot of times identity theft happens to people that are living.

There was a case of an identity theft that lasted almost 35 years in which the suspect had frequently used the health insurance of the victim for hospital claims.

The suspect was finally caught, but only after the victim filed for bankruptcy for over $100,000 in debt that was not his.

By Crispety — On Sep 04, 2010

Bhutan-I think one of the largest areas of fraud has to be benefit fraud. Benefit fraud is usually found in cases where an insurance company is billed for medical services that never took place.

The doctor then collects the payments and the fraud was completed. Medicare fraud is said to be the largest category of benefit fraud.

Many feel that because the government is so large and is such a bureaucracy many people take advantage of this fact and scam the government.

Sometimes it is people that are acting like doctors but are not licensed to practice that make these claims. Benefit fraud could also stem from identity theft of another person. Many times the data of a deceased person is used to obtain benefits. There is plenty of work for those seeking a benefit fraud investigator position.

By Bhutan — On Sep 04, 2010

Oasis11- I wanted to tell you that the Association of Certified Fraud Examiner does offer certification in becoming a certified fraud investigator.

Once you are certified you can earn a higher salary. Many of these fraud investigation services often hire people to conduct detailed research on fraudulent financial transactions.

Sometimes, the cases call to conduct a business fraud investigation. Here the fraud investigator will compile a case against the company as a result of multiple complaints against scammed customers.

By oasis11 — On Sep 04, 2010

Suntan12- Insurance fraud investigation is another common area in which fraudulent activity takes place.

Here, insurance fraud investigations require surveillance and actual photographs of the party committing the fraud.

Sometimes the fraud is in the form of made up medical conditions as a result of an injury. For example, if a person sues another person due to a car accident and claims that they now have whiplash and can no longer move their neck, but the fraud investigator catches the same person jogging with no neck brace and engaging in normal activity without the brace can prove that this was a fraudulent case.

The video along with the photographs are the key elements of evidence for the fraud insurance investigator.

By suntan12 — On Sep 04, 2010

Anon46285- I agree. This was a great article.

I wanted to add that there are many fraud investigator vacancies in banks today. Many banks need fraud investigators to research and document mortgage fraud.

Mortgage fraud is one of the fastest growing areas for fraud investigator jobs.

Even the F.B.I has a mortgage fraud investigative unit which demonstrates how prevalent the crime is. These fraud investigator jobs are often high paying with possible salaries in the low six figures.

By anon46285 — On Sep 24, 2009

cool website

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