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.