Comprehensive online training programs in fraud examination teach students to investigate crimes ranging from pension fund crime to environmental crime. They are primarily designed to serve as preparation for certification exams provided by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). While not necessarily required, online students are encouraged to perform residencies and internships in fraud examination organized through their colleges or schools.
A number of traditional four-year universities and private online schools offer distance learning accounting or business degrees and certificates that include coursework in this field; these could include a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Accounting, Graduate Certificate in Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination or a Master of Business Administration in Economic Crime and Fraud Management. Some schools offer fraud investigation as a minor for online bachelor's programs or perhaps have online classes for accounting professionals that award continuing education credits. Fully online and blended formats are available.
Continuing education classes offered through distance learning may have few if any strict admissions standards, but those seeking entrance into a formal degree program must meet certain requirements. Students interested in an undergraduate program related to fraud examination, for example, generally must have a high school diploma or GED. Those seeking admission to a master's degree or graduate certificate program must have a bachelor's degree, prerequisite credits in accounting and/or business, and possibly GRE or GMAT scores.
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The following list provides details on what online students could study in a program in this field.
Introductory Fraud Schemes
Students gain initial familiarity with some common criminal ploys used to commit fraud. These courses are largely based on general fraud awareness, and they address basic methods for fraud detection.
Forensic Accounting and Investigation
Courses in forensic accounting highlight the various methods by which individuals mislead others via financial statement fraud. Common subjects studied can include fictitious revenue schemes, improper asset valuation, and financial statement analysis.
Gathering and Analyzing Information
Essential to every fraud investigation is the collection and analysis of information and evidence. Students learn how to identify information sources, research assets or financial positions, and explore legal concerns when obtaining records.
This course teaches students why employees commit fraud, how to write and communicate a fraud prevention policy, and how to sell fraud prevention to management. Fraud prevention cases and methods specific to the state where the training program is based might also be included.
Most institutes of higher learning use a variety of Internet-based delivery systems to provide course materials to distance learning students. This typically involves e-mail, streaming audio and video, and interactive chat rooms. Schools use course management systems to deliver lectures and assignments to students as well, which can often be accessed around the clock. In some cases, short on-campus residencies may be required for some programs. ACFE's distance learning training in fraud examination is provided mainly via online self-study courses and webinars.
Online training programs in fraud prevention may cover fraud schemes, forensic accounting and investigation, and information analysis. Residencies and internships may be available for some programs.