How to Become a Fraud Investigator
How to Become a Fraud Investigator
The digital world is rife with opportunities for fraud of all kinds. Credit card scams, false insurance claims, identity theft, telemarketing schemes, and letters from Nigerian businessmen offering to share their millions in exchange for personal bank account numbers all add up to billions of dollars a year in stolen private and public funds. Enter the fraud investigators, who track down not only the perpetrators of these thefts, but investigates the methods they use, with the goal of apprehending the guilty, protecting the innocent, and reducing the chance of future fraud.
What does a fraud investigator do?
Fraud investigators often work for a wide range of government agencies, commercial industries, financial institutions, service organizations, and private entities. They may also work on a contract basis as private investigators. Their primary responsibilities involve responding to questions of purposeful misrepresentation that lead to the illegal use of or profit from identity, money, or intellectual property.
Fraud investigators interview witnesses and complainants, search records, perform background checks, and collect all types data to ascertain if and how fraud has been committed. They also conduct surveillance, both in person and electronically. Investigators must adhere to all applicable laws, including obtaining search warrants and serving subpoenas, as well as other forms of information gathering. They may coordinate operations with law enforcement agencies on the local, state or federal level, or the attorneys general.
Investigators compile this information into written reports that may be used in either criminal or administrative hearings. They may also be called upon as expert witnesses in general proceedings or to present their findings on a specific case. Click here to find out how to become a fraud investigator.
What kind of training does a fraud investigator need?
While there are no standard academic requirements for fraud investigators, most hiring agencies prefer at least an Associate degree in criminal justice or law. Employment and salary prospects increase significantly for candidates who earn Bachelor degrees or higher.
With the wide variety of fraud types and the agencies employing fraud investigators, additional coursework is highly recommended. Classes in areas such as computer science, accounting, marketing, business management, and psychology will complement the legal knowledge and investigative skills developed through a Law or Criminal Justice program. Click here for a list of online criminal justice degree programs.
What are the prospects for a career in fraud investigation?
Prospects for fraud investigator jobs are very strong. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that employment rates for detectives and investigators, including fraud investigators, are expected to grow by 18% (about 9,400 jobs) by 2016. The majority of this growth is expected in the private sector, with agencies such as insurance firms, banks, retail merchants, and credit card companies. (1)
How much do fraud investigators make?
Entry-level fraud investigator salary typically starts around $31,200. As one advances in this career to senior management positions, potential earnings increase to as much as $67,900 or more. (2)
A career in fraud investigation is one that constantly adapts to changing technology and client needs. The strong outlook for hiring, as well as the critical nature of this position, makes it an excellent choice for Law and Criminal Justice program graduates. Click here to find your path to a fraud investigation career.