How Do You Become a Fraud Investigator?

If you want to become a fraud investigator, then there are a couple of steps you need to take. These steps range from obtaining the right academic credentials to applying for certification from a recognized professional body.

Understand Your Roles

The first step to a successful career as a fraud investigator is to understand the role you will play once you get a job. As an investigator, you will be required to perform the following functions:

  • Meet with clients to gather evidence.
  • Examine evidence obtained from clients to determine if they have merit.
  • Run background checks on suspected individuals and review organization’s procedures.
  • Collect written statements, pictures, tape recordings and video materials for evidence.
  • Conduct interviews with suspected individuals to determine the facts surrounding the case.
  • Write a report on the key findings for the clients.

Earn a Degree

Fraud investigators must have at least an undergraduate degree to be allowed to practice. A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or any other degree related to law enforcement will help you get a decent job. A criminal justice degree will teach you about investigative techniques, judiciary procedures, fraud laws, research methods and information systems. You will also learn about billing processes and tax laws.

Aspiring investigators are encouraged to pursue further studies to make them more knowledgeable and skilled. Possible graduate programs may include Master of Science in Criminal Justice or MBA in Fraud Management.

Gain Some Work Experience

A larger percentage of employers require fraud investigators to have between two and five years of work experience. The experience can be in the areas of medical chart coding, insurance billing, tax reporting and claims investigation. You can gain this experience in an entry-level position working alongside an experienced supervisor. As you gain more experience, you will be assigned more sophisticated cases.

Obtain a License

Investigators who are planning to work in the US must obtain a license from the relevant state authorities. The licensing procedure varies with state, but it generally involves meeting the minimum academic requirements and passing a licensing exam. Once you obtain a license, you will be required to renew it periodically or complete a continuing education program.

Get Certified

You will also need a certification from an established professional body. A certification such as Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) or Certified Insurance Fraud Investigator (CIFI) will validate your legitimacy as an investigator and improve your job prospects. The CFE certification is offered by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. The CIFI certification, on the other hand, is offered by the International Association of Special Investigation Units. All these certifications require you to pass specific examinations and have at least a bachelor’s degree.

Acquire Essential Skills

Having a license and the right certification may help you get a job, but if you don’t have the right skills set, you may not have a successful career. Successful investigators must show attention to detail, be active listeners, communicate well and have knowledge of relevant laws. They must also be able to interpret information, gather evidence and use technology effectively.

Related Resource: How Do You Become a Criminal Profiler?

Fraud investigation requires people who can work to promote integrity and prevent losses in the corporate world. The list discussed above will provide you with all the useful tips on how to become a fraud investigator.