Senior Fraud Investigator: Education Requirements and Career Info

Apr 22, 2021

Senior fraud investigators usually acquire standard academic education prior to entering into this field, followed by on-the-job training. Some states require fraud investigators to be licensed. Investigators search databases, interview witnesses, perform surveillance and testify in court.

Essential Information

Senior fraud investigators, also known as fraud examiners, work for insurance companies or accounting firms, examining all types of claims for criminal activity. Most employers hire someone with a high school diploma and train them on the job, but some may prefer investigators with a bachelor's degree in accounting, law enforcement or other relevant area. Fraud investigators must be licensed in some states, which requires completing a training course and passing an exam. Investigators achieve senior status through training and work experience. Professional credentials are available to experienced investigators.

Required Education High school diploma or GED certificate is sufficient for many jobs; some positions require a bachelor's degree
Licensing Some states mandate licensing, which calls for completing an education program and passing an exam
Projected Job Outlook (2019-2029)* -6% for claims adjusters, examiners and investigators
Mean Salary (2020)* $70,650 for claims adjusters, examiners and investigators

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Senior Fraud Investigator Education Requirements

Most employers hire individuals with just a high school diploma. However, some employers prefer to hire college graduates with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, police science, accounting or business. Coursework for such programs vary and internships may be required. Once hired, all new employees receive on-the-job training from their superiors. Training can include such topics as recognizing different types of fraud, using computer databases to gather information, interviewing witnesses and performing surveillance.

License and Certification Requirements

Licensing requirements for a fraud investigator vary by state. Some states have no requirements while others states require applicants to complete an education program and pass a written exam. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners awards the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) credential to investigators with at least two years of professional experience.

The computer-based certification exam consists of four sections, which include fraudulent financial transactions, legal elements of fraud, investigation methods and fraud prevention. After passing the voluntary exam, certified individuals must take 20 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) credits each year to maintain their certification. CPE credits must include two hours devoted to the study of ethics and ten to the study of the deterrence and detection of fraud.

Senior Fraud Investigator Career Information

Senior fraud investigators may work on a variety of cases, including money laundering schemes or falsified medical disability claims. They begin their investigation with a database search to obtain background information on claimants and witnesses. Investigators access Social Security numbers, addresses, telephone numbers, criminal records, aliases and past claim histories to establish previous fraud. Investigators interview and obtain written statements from witnesses. At times, senior fraud investigators may be asked to conduct surveillance work by taking photographs or video of claimants. When not conducting investigations, they testify in court or advise companies and agencies on ways to improve fraud detection.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists fraud investigators within the claims adjuster, examiners and investigators category. Workers in this field should see a 6% decline in employment opportunities from 2019-2029. The mean annual wages for this group were $70,650 in May 2020.

While salary, job growth, and job duties are highly important, knowing how to become a senior fraud investigator is just as significant. A high school diploma is typically the only education needed, but a college degree can be a better option for your career; on-the-job training is common. Depending on the state in which one plans to practice, a license may be required.

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