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Incidents of identity theft, bank fraud, corporate accounting scandals and online embezzlement have increased job opportunities for fraud analysts. These specialists analyze bank records, sales and credit transactions, insurance claims and other records, searching for discrepancies that indicate possible fraudulent activity and launching investigations to resolve the matters. Becoming a fraud analyst requires a combination of education, experience and certification in fraud examination.
Complete a college degree with a major in a field related to fraud investigation. Appropriate fields of study for aspiring fraud analysts include accounting and auditing, criminology and sociology, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. However, the association points out that general sociological training is insufficient, and that studies in the fraud and white-collar crime areas of sociology and criminology are necessary.
Develop professional experience by applying for and securing a job in a field related to fraud investigation. Appropriate fields for fraud analysis include accounting, auditing, corporate loss prevention, and investigation of civil or criminal fraud. Accountants and auditors examine financial data for questionable activity, evaluate weaknesses in accounting systems and design financial controls. Fraud investigations in such agencies as the Internal Revenue Service or in private sector firms such as banks and insurance companies prepare you for a career in fraud analysis.
Apply for membership in the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and register to take the exam to become a certified fraud examiner, which signifies expertise in fraud analysis and investigation. To take the exam, you must have a bachelor’s degree or sufficient professional experience in a fraud-related field, defined as two years of experience for each year of study. For example, if you have a two-year associate degree, you must also have four years of professional experience to be eligible to take the exam.
Study for the exam by taking the CFE Exam Prep Course, a computer-based program of self-study offered by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. As an alternative, you may study independently using the Fraud Examiners Manual and other reference materials. The manual is available from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.
Pass the exam to earn certification as a fraud analyst. The exam tests your knowledge of fraudulent financial activity, investigation methods, fraud prevention and the legal dimensions of fraud.
Shane Hall is a writer and research analyst with more than 20 years of experience. His work has appeared in "Brookings Papers on Education Policy," "Population and Development" and various Texas newspapers. Hall has a Doctor of Philosophy in political economy and is a former college instructor of economics and political science.