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Fraud Investigator

colleges offer programs related to this career near Ashburn, VA

Career Overview

Did you know? Each year, millions of identities are stolen and the IRS finds billions of dollars in tax evasion. While these are troubling facts, luckily there are detectives who help find those responsible for committing these (among many other) crimes. If helping put criminals of fraud behind bars sounds appealing to you, perhaps you should check out a career as a fraud investigator.Investigating fraud is no laughing matter. You will work hard reviewing evidence, obtaining record statements, performing surveillance work, and interviewing the individuals affected by fraudulent activity. For instance, if you are working on a case of identity theft, you will meet with the person whose identity has been stolen to go over where their personal information might have been taken. You might ask questions about who they are close to, if anyone they know has a history with theft, and where they last provided their information. These types of interviews will require you to be patient and understanding, as you listen to their replies. Sometimes they will vent to you about their situation. This is someone who has just had their world thrown for a loop; they're likely not feeling too thrilled about it. Just remember to treat them with the same kindness you would like someone to show you if you were in their shoes.Working as a fraud investigator requires strong organizational skills. You will collect lots of evidence during your searches and finding the document you need when you need it is critical. If you have a system that helps you keep your personal files in order (such as color-coordinated files), then you can use this set up at work as well. This will help you keep track of the cases you are working on. Furthermore, when it comes to examining your evidence you will want to use your keen eye for detail to help you highlight key facts that prove someone has committed an act of fraud.

Salaries and Job Outlook*

2013 Median Annual Pay
Number of Jobs in 2013
Projected Growth Rate
National
$79,970
105,350
4.5 %
Virginia
$88,140
3,360
 

Education and Training

Degrees Required:
Bachelor's Degree in Accounting, Criminal Justice, or related field

Becoming a fraud investigator requires a few steps. First, you must complete your bachelor's degree in Accounting, Criminal Justice, or a related field. Employers also look to see if you have previous work experience in a related position, like if you've worked as a loss prevention agent. Many states require you to be certified; you can gain certification through the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) by passing an online exam.

 
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Valued Traits & Abilities

Communication Skills
Decision-Making Skills
Detail Oriented.

Work Environment

It's important to note that this is not a 9-5 job. You will often work irregular hours to conduct surveillance and meet with witnesses or claimants who are not available during regular working hours. Your work as a fraud investigator will ask a lot of you as you will spend many hours going over evidence and investigating background information. Sometimes, you may witness the subject of your investigation trying to cover up their path or attempting to flee the country, and you will need to act fast to notify the authorities. This job can be full of excitement and adrenaline rushes, as you work to help police put criminals behind bars.

* Source: BLS Data - 2013