Fraud investigators investigate all types of monetary issues, concerning legal claims, forgeries, work injuries, or anything else that could be fraudulent. They may pore through records, interview claimants, even work undercover to collect evidence. A fraud investigator should have at least a high school education, though some employers demand a bachelor's degree.
Fraud investigators work closely with insurance companies and government agencies to ensure that public and insurance funds are given to those truly deserving of them. Through research, interviews and surveillance, fraud investigators make sure that claims for reimbursement are not false. A high school diploma is often the minimum requirement to enter this career, though some positions may require a bachelor's degree or relevant experience. Some states also require claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners and investigators to be licensed; licensure requirements vary by state.
|Required Education||High school diploma; some employers prefer a bachelor's degree in business or accounting|
|Other Requirements||Licensing required in some states|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||3% for all claims adjusters, examiners and investigators|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)*||$62,980 for all claims adjusters, examiners and investigators|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Job Description of a Fraud Investigator
Fraud investigators perform investigations of possibly fraudulent acts that result in the receipt or appropriation of public, insurance or government funds. Depending on the company for which they work, fraud investigators are hired by government agencies or insurance firms when the agency or firm suspects fraudulent claims for reimbursement. Fraudulent cases may involve worker's compensation, staged accidents, welfare, taxes, social benefits and property damage. These investigators often work with claims examiners to put an end to fraudulent claims at the start of the process.
In their investigative work, fraud investigators analyze government and insurance databases to ascertain background information on claimants, witnesses and potential accomplices. After collecting electronic information, fraud investigators visit and interview claimants. If deemed necessary, they may also perform surveillance work, going undercover to obtain information not otherwise accessible from databases and interviews.
Fraud investigators often serve as witnesses in legal cases that arise from insurance and government fund-appropriation disputes. They must be legal experts in their own rights, since an understanding of laws that pertain to public and insurance funds is necessary for their work. Moreover, because they also perform surveillance work, fraud investigators must also be aware of the legal limits of private investigation.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of fraud investigators, as well as adjusters and examiners, was expected to grow three percent from 2014 to 2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reports that investigators, adjusters and examiners earned a median annual wage of $62,980 in May 2015.
As a fraud investigator, one will typically perform research in addition to conducting interviews and surveillance. Fraud investigators can work for government or insurance agencies, hired when a potential falsification occurs. Licensing varies by state, and level of required education varies by employer.