How to Become a Fraud Risk Analyst

Mar 04, 2020

Learn how to become a fraud risk analyst. Research the requirements, job description, and duties, and read the step-by-step process to start a career in fraud risk analysis.

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Becoming a Fraud Risk Analyst

A fraud risk analyst looks for fraudulent or suspicious activity and monitors transactions for risks. They may work for banks or other financial business firms and use evidence, statements, and testimony to identify and analyze fraudulent activity and trends to help lower a company's or individual's risk.

Like financial analysts, fraud risk analysts typically work in a comfortable office environment, though they might also have to travel to visit their clients. Additionally, many average working more than 40 hours in a week.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree; master's degree may be required
Degree Fields Risk management, mathematics, business, statistics, or a related field
Certification Voluntary and preferred
Experience 3-8 years of experience
Key Skills Investigative skills, written reports, evidence preparation, witness interviews, database maintenance, active-listening, critical thinking, telephone skills, familiarity with SAS, SQL, E-mail, telephone and retail banking systems
Salary $85,660 (median salary for all financial analysts)

Sources: O*Net Online, U.S. Bureau of Statistics, job postings (October 2012).

So what are the career requirements to start a career as a fraud risk analyst? Employers look for someone with at least a bachelor's degree, and some may require a master's degree. The degree field should be risk management, mathematics, business, statistics, economics, or a related field. Voluntary certification is available and may be preferred by some employers. Most employers look for someone with 3-8 years of related experience.

The key skills you should have include investigative skills; written reports; evidence preparation; witness interviews; database maintenance; active listening; critical thinking; telephone skills; and familiarity with SAS, SQL, e-mail, telephone, and retail banking systems.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics, the median salary for a financial analyst is $85,660.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

The majority of all fraud examiners, investigators, and analyst positions require a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Some examples of related degrees include specializations in mathematics, economics, statistics, business, or accounting. These courses should be taken along with general education and liberal arts requirements.

Here Is a Tip for Success:

Search for industry-specific degree programs.

Bachelor's degree programs in areas like forensic accounting and fraudulent financial reporting can help you start a career as a fraud analyst.

Step 2: Consider an Advanced Degree

A bachelor's degree holder interested in a career as a fraud risk analyst can consider earning a graduate degree in areas like business ethics and compliance, fraud and forensics, economic crime management, or forensic accounting. These programs typically require 1-2 years of study to complete.

Here Is a Tip for Success:

Investigate jobs in your area to see if this is beneficial.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that advanced study in areas like fraud and risk management could be highly beneficial, because competition for financial analyst positions can be intense ( A master's degree should improve an applicant's prospects significantly.

Step 3: Obtain Professional Experience in Finance

Professional experience in fraud analysis and/or prevention is essential for career advancement. Although there are some entry-level positions available, most employers look for analyst candidates with at least 3-8 years' experience. Sometimes experience in a specific field, such as bank fraud risk, risk management, or bank operations, can be useful.

Step 4: Gain Voluntary Certification

The Association for Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) offers the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) certification, a credential that is required for many senior fraud risk analyst positions. To qualify to take the exam, a fraud analyst must have a bachelor's degree in any field and at least two years' experience with fraud detection or prevention. In addition to certification, ACFE offers members access to continuing education, networking opportunities, industry-related events, and other resources for professional growth and career advancement.

The Forensic Institute also offers certification in the field by assigning the Accredited Fraud Investigator designation. This certification is available after the completion of 24 hours of coursework, which is offered through the Forensic Institute and may be available at certain colleges that sponsor a certification program.

Obtaining a bachelor's degree and an advanced degree, gaining job experience, and getting certified are the steps to take to make the most of a career as a fraud risk analyst.

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