2018 saw the largest healthcare fraud takedown in history. Over 600 defendants were charged with participating in fraud schemes. Medicare and Medicaid lost about $2 billion as a result.
Fraud happens in every industry and in every part of the world.
Read on to learn what fraud investigators do, how much they earn and what you need to do to get started.
Fraud Investigators Job Outlook
With the constant advances in technology and our society’s reliance on cyber interactions, fraud continues to rise.
In fact, an alarming number of global banks have been the victims of cyber fraud that cost them millions of dollars.
The latest targets are Indian banks (with accounts in the U.S.). Hackers have been able to fraudulently wire money to offshore destinations by manipulating the SWIFT money transfer system.
The need for fraud investigators will continue to rise along with more and more complex fraud attempts.
Career Overview for Fraud Investigators
Fraud investigators work in a variety of settings. They may work for an insurance company, a bank, the federal government, local police departments, and healthcare organizations.
Some fraud investigators set up their own private practice and provide their services to freelance clients.
A fraud investigator may look into either civil or criminal investigations. An investigator will research various types of fraud, depending on where they work.
If they work for an insurance company, they will investigate insurance fraud. Same goes for healthcare and credit card fraud cases.
Fraud investigators work at their desk a lot of the time. They do also have to interview those connected to the fraud case. Such as witnesses, employers or complainants.
There is a lot of research involved. Fraud investigators need to go through records and transactions carefully to collect evidence of fraud. Sometimes, they will need to serve search warrants to complete their research.
Fraud investigators may need to work with individuals who are part of the criminal justice system including prosecutors and attorney generals.
A fraud investigator may be required to testify in court as well as present his or her findings to stakeholders.
To be hired as a fraud investigator you will need at least a high school diploma.
Those who have completed a BA in criminal justice, law, business or economic crime will be more marketable and highly sought after.
Once a fraud investigator is hired by an organization, they will be subject to extensive on the job training. Check out investigator job openings across the country.
Fraud Investigation Licenses and Certifications
To become a licensed fraud investigator, most states require you to take an exam to obtain a license. This is true for private detectives too.
In other states, fraud investigators must take part in continuing education to keep their license. Job requirements may change over time. It’s important that you confirm the licensing regulations in your state for up-to-date information.
If you will be carrying a handgun, you will be subject to additional registrations.
Fraud investigators may choose to take certification courses to specialize in a particular field or receive in-depth training. You may choose to get certified through a professional organization to advance your career.
For example, fraud investigators interested in working in negligence may take a Legal Investigation certification through the National Association of Legal Investigators.
The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners
The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners is the largest anti-fraud organization in the world.
They offer membership options to students and others who are interested in the prevention and detection of fraud.
This association also offers a certification course. You can become a Certified Fraud Examiner by successfully passing the test. Note: there are certain academic and professional requirements to be eligible to take the test.
The exam takes approximately 10 hours and covers fraud prevention, investigation, deterrence, and the law.
Fraud Investigator Salary
The 2017 median wage for investigators was $50,000. That means half of all investigators made less than that amount and half made more. This number is based on investigators in general, not fraud investigators specifically.
Individual salaries will vary depending on location, level of education, experience, and industry.
Job growth for this role is expected to grow by 11% in the coming years. That is faster than the national average which is currently 7%.
Important Skills for Fraud Investigators
Fraud experts require a specific set of skills that they can use to investigate and present their findings.
One of the most important skills is, of course, research skills. Fraud investigators must be able to follow the breadcrumbs to find evidence of fraud. There are often many avenues to research and a lot of paperwork to comb through.
Another crucial skill is attention to detail. Many fraud crimes are complex and subtle. Fraud investigators must be able to sort through a lot of information and pick out what is important.
As fraud investigators conduct interviews and work with criminal justice professionals, excellent communication skills are vital. They need to be able to ask the right questions and listen carefully.
Patience is a must-have for all investigators. They may spend countless hours looking for evidence without any major breakthroughs. Most investigations take an extended amount of time.
At the end of an investigation, there might not even be a resolution or forward-moving action.
Last but not least, fraud investigators must be inquisitive. This is a personality trait that will serve them well as they look for clues and follow leads.
Final Words on Fraud Investigators
We hope this article has given you a good understanding of what the fraud investigators position is all about.
Feel like you have what it takes to become a fraud investigator? Check out this MBA in economic crime and fraud management.