Fraud investigators play a big role in the criminal justice system—they look into suspicious behavior and suspected trickery in all sorts of areas. Fraud investigators figure out if a scam has taken place, and if one has, they recommend ways to resolve the issue or prevent future deceit.
Under Your Watchful Eye
The cheats and cons of the world are caught on the regular by fraud investigators. It doesn’t matter what tools they use to swindle, because there are investigators specializing in any of their means including:
- Insurance fraud
- Credit card fraud
- Identity fraud and theft
- Corporate-based fraud
- Internet fraud
Investigators work on both civil cases (individual versus individual) and criminal cases (individual versus government) of fraud.
Responsibilities And Duties Of Fraud Investigators
Tasks vary on a case-by-case basis, but as a whole, you’ll spend your days conducting research, handling interviews, and doing various surveillance activities.
Fraud investigators begin their scrutiny by researching records and transactions related to the case. You may need to conduct surveillance to further document crooked endeavors, and you’ll likely interview people who are affected by the fraudulent activity: Eyewitnesses, employers, the person who filed the claim, and website administrators will all help you make your case.
You’ll work with government agencies, credit card companies, and insurance agencies to gather facts and proof. Sometimes, you’ll apply for a search warrant—and may even execute it—after gaining enough evidence. Testifying in court will be a frequent occurrence.
What Education Is Required?
A high school diploma is the minimum education level to become a fraud investigator, though some positions may require a bachelor's degree in a related field.
In addition, there are some states that require fraud examiners and investigators be licensed, and licensure requirements vary by state.
Here are some recommendations for fraud investigation training:
- A good place to start a career in financial fraud investigation is with a bachelor's degree in accounting, business, law, or criminal justice, with an advanced certification in finance or criminal investigation.
- To start a career as a forensic fraud investigator, seek a certification as a public accountant.
- To become a consumer fraud investigator, a background in private investigation and business are both helpful.
What Kind Of Experience Will Help Me Get A Job?
Fraud investigation is not typically an entry-level position, so employers like to see relevant experience in past jobs. They may favor applicants with law enforcement training or criminal investigation experience.
Once you are hired into the field, stay up to date with federal and state laws, because changes to the law can affect how you handle cases. And the better you apply yourself to advancing in your career, the better your salary will be. Average annual salary for fraud investigators is $65K.
Start Your Training
Fraud investigators know how to sniff out shady behavior and shut it down through the activity they track, the interviews they gather, and all the evidence they collect. Dedication to finding the truth, using your analytical mind, and knowing when someone is lying will take you far in your career as a fraud investigator. Look into a school near you to get started.