Fraud investigators are responsible for conducting criminal investigations associated with money laundering, credit card fraud, insurance fraud or other crimes involving illegal financial transactions. Investigators collect evidence by interviewing witnesses and complainants; researching records and following the money trail; obtaining financial documentation; and coordinating the use of search warrants. Investigators create reports based on their findings and present all evidence to the U.S. Attorney's Office, which determines if there is enough evidence to prosecute. According to Indeed.com, the average salary for a fraud investigator (as of 2010) hit £46,150 per year.
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Prospective fraud investigators must have a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. A criminal justice degree offers students a wide range of foundational knowledge and skills in the criminal justice system. Students learn about crime causation, criminal behaviour, criminal law, criminal justice process, juvenile justice and corrections. Those interested in pursuing a career in fraud investigation also have the opportunity to focus on courses and electives involving investigations, research methods in criminal justice as well as the security and politics of the criminal justice behaviour. This teaching offers students an opportunity to improve their computer skills, quantitative analytical abilities, communication skills and research methods.
Those interested in working in fraud investigation must participate in an internship program under a licensed fraud investigator.Internships offer firsthand experience in the field and allow students to learn and observe in a professional setting. Interns learn how to obtain background information about witnesses and claimants. They accomplish this by accessing personal information and identifying past claims, Social Security numbers, aliases, criminal records and addresses. Opportunities also are available in conducting research and participating in surveillance work.
While licensing requirements vary by state, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners offers certification for individuals seeking a credential in fraud investigations. In order to become certified, applicants must complete training in a classroom setting and pass a certification examination that covers fraud prevention a deterrence, fraudulent financial transactions, fraud investigation and legal elements in fraud.
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