Fraud investigators are the front line of establishing the facts of suspected fraud or other unethical business behaviour. A fraud investigator’s skillset and wide knowledge of fraud laws, evidence gathering and interviewing make them the go-to expert for investigating insurance fraud, financial fraud, procurement fraud, asset recovery, cyber fraud, healthcare fraud, retail fraud and other areas.
A fraud investigator can either be part of a team of experienced investigators, or the leader of such a team. If part of a team, the fraud investigator generally works with the other team members to handle reports of suspicious activity. If in charge of a team, the fraud investigator would typically report to the head of a department, such as corporate security, compliance or audit. A fraud investigations manager at a typical retail business, for example, would be responsible for the day-to-day monitoring, investigation and resolution of fraudulent activity relating to delays in the repayment and refunds processes. They will take the lead on the implementation of strategies to prevent fraud and financial crime, thereby mitigating risk to the business.
Fraud Investigator Key Functions
Fraud investigators provide subject matter expertise on claims and associated fraud risks, helping to ensure effective resolution of investigations. The effective fraud investigator adheres to relevant security standards, internal and external procedures and legislative requirements. Their role often involves developing and maintaining close working relationships with relevant law enforcement agencies, ensuring that cases are developed and prosecuted to a criminal standard.
When working with an organisation in a preventative fashion, a fraud investigator will perform fraud risk assessments across the business relating to both external and internal threats; implementing mitigation measures as required. They also build appropriate fraud prevention and detection processes and implement them. Some fraud investigators manage the day-to-day operation of an expanding fraud team, ensuring that KPIs are met and regular reports produced for the management team. In this capacity, they will also work closely with the senior management team to ensure that operational capacity is correctly aligned to combat a variety of fraud types.
Here are some of the other key functions performed by fraud investigators:
- Evaluate potential fraud indicators and the impact of current fraud trends and make recommendations as to appropriate mitigation.
- Conducting investigations into allegations of fraud, waste or abuse committed by clients against our company
- Reviewing and researching evidence/documents to analyse the overall fact pattern of a claim and synthesise data into a professional report with recommendations
- Preparing and coordinating field assignments to obtain relevant evidence and information
- Conduct objective, fair, thorough, unbiased and timely investigations into allegations of fraud, waste or abuse committed by clients against our company
- Review and research evidence/documents to analyse the overall fact pattern of a claim and synthesise data into a professional report with recommendations
- Prepare and coordinate field assignments to obtain relevant evidence and information
- Coordinate with defence attorneys to provide deposition strategies and use law enforcement resources for assistance
- Manage and prioritise a large and varied caseload effectively and efficiently to achieve positive results
- Prepare prosecution packages and restitution proposals.
As a fraud investigator often wears many different hats, they also have many ongoing responsibilities. These include monitoring transaction reports to identify any suspicious transactions and conducting detailed investigations as required. They must also proactively identify financial crime trends through data analysis and share findings with leadership as and when needed. A few other responsibilities of a fraud investigator include:
- Working to a high standard, meeting strict time-frames whilst working under pressure.
- Communicating directly with customers as part of ongoing fraud investigations through in-app messages or via telephony with potential victims of fraud to establish circumstances and additional information, before providing a fair and logical decision, with supporting rationale.
- Work as part of a team and supporting colleagues as and when required to reduce workload(s).
Personality Traits of a Fraud Investigator
There are some common traits among the most successful fraud investigators. This includes being a self-starter who is results-driven with high levels of self-motivation, energy and initiative. An effective fraud investigator has a proven ability to work under pressure to and meet tight deadlines, without compromising the quality of output. One key trait that can’t be overlooked is the ability to be an effective communicator – a fraud investigator must have excellent written and verbal skills. Here are some other key traits among successful fraud investigators:
- An ability to thrive under pressure amidst changing business priorities
- Effective cost management and analytical integrity
- Experience in leading and developing a team
- Keen interest in stopping fraud whilst considering the impact of how an investigation can impact customers
Knowledge and Skills
A successful fraud investigator brings to the table a broad range of security/ fraud detection and prevention experience. A fraud investigator must be a subject matter expert on fraud for their related field, such as insurance fraud, financial fraud, procurement fraud, asset recovery, cyber fraud, healthcare fraud, retail fraud and other areas.
Many fraud investigators have specialised skills such as:
- Experience of interviewing in accordance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act following the PACE framework.
- Strong knowledge of cyber risk and common fraud typologies, along with the emerging trends affecting fraud and financial crime.
- Familiarity with key AML, TF, Financial Crime and Sanctions legislation and associated Regulatory Guidance.
- Demonstrated experience working with customers on fraud prevention and detection strategies.
- Sound understanding of the customer impact of a transaction monitoring system; able to balance fraud prevention with the need to provide an excellent customer experience.
As previously mentioned, an effective fraud investigator must have strong interpersonal and communication skills, including the ability to interact with clients, upper management and law enforcement. They also need to have an ingenuity and persistence to obtain case information not readily available with an eye for detail. Dealing with various different cases and different types of evidence requires strong organisational skills. For insurance fraud, investigators must be proficient with the insurance procedures, regulations and investigation methods
Perhaps most important, fraud investigators must set a positive example for their colleagues. They need to be honest and ethical, with high levels of integrity and confidentiality.
A fraud investigator has many different responsibilities, and the role requires an individual with some specific traits. CRI Group’s fraud investigators are experts at uncovering the facts and evidence of a case, but they also implement proactive anti-fraud measures to help an organisation be better protected against future incidence of fraud. Fraud investigators specialise in insurance fraud, financial fraud, procurement fraud, asset recovery, cyber fraud, healthcare fraud, retail fraud and other areas. It’s important that organisations hire trained, qualified fraud investigators who understand the laws, are effective at evidence collection and fact-finding, and are good communicators (since interviewing is one of the key processes of fraud investigation). A fraud investigator might work with a team, or they might lead their team and report to another division. Being able to work under pressure and meet deadlines is critically important. Properly evaluating and securing evidence is of equal importance. CRI Group has only the best expert fraud investigators to meet these challenges.
Are you a fraud investigator? Tell us about your day-to-day job, we would love to hear it.
Who is CRI Group?
Based in London, CRI Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk Management, Employee Background Screening, Business Intelligence, Due Diligence, Compliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider. We have the largest proprietary network of background-screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI Group also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.
In 2016, CRI Group launched Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management Systems, ISO 37301 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management, providing training and certification. ABAC® operates through its global network of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors and other certified professionals. As a result, CRI Group’s global team of certified fraud examiners work as a discreet white-labelled supplier to some of the world’s largest organisations. Contact ABAC® for more on ISO Certification and training.