Criminal Justice School Info

Certified Fraud Examiner

Cracking Down on Fraud, Bribery, & Corruption

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The Assoc. of Certified Fraud Examiners reports that white collar crimes cost US companies more than 400 billion annually.

A certified fraud examiner is someone who is qualified and specifically trained to investigate and identify occurrences of fraud and other white collar crimes, such as commercial bribery and insider trading. Numerous professionals (such as accountants, lawyers, criminologists, law enforcement officers and auditors) elect to take fraud examiner training and then become certified. Certified fraud examiners investigate through examining financial evidence and talking to relevant parties, write conclusive reports and act as expert witnesses in court. They also help prevent future cases of fraud.

Fraud Examiner Training

A number of universities, colleges and professional associations offer fraud examiner courses and forensic accounting programs. If you are pursuing a Bachelors or graduate degree in Accounting, Finance, Business or another related discipline, you can opt to take a fraud examination course or specialization. Some of these same educational institutions also offer continuing education courses and certificate programs for those currently not pursuing a degree at that particular school, although some accounting/finance prerequisites may be required.

A number of professional associations also offer online and independent study courses to help you prepare for the certified fraud examiner certification exam. The certification exam is administered by the ACFE (Association of Certified Fraud Examiners) - www.cfenet.com. Examples of professional associations that offer fraud examiner training or complimentary courses are:

  • Association of Certified Fraud Examiners www.cfenet.com
  • American Institute of CPAs (Anti-Fraud Initiatives) http://www.aicpa.org/interestareas/youngcpanetwork/resources/professionalissues/pages/fraud_initiative.aspx
  • The Institute of Internal Auditors - www.theiia.org
  • MIS Training Institute www.misti.com
  • National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts www.nacva.com
  • Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council http://www.ffiec.gov/
  • National Notary Association http://www.nationalnotary.org/notary_training/notary_training.html

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Certified Fraud Examiner Certification

To obtain certified fraud examiner certification, you must first become an associate member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) and then complete the ACFE certification exam. The exam is known to be tough and highly-detailed and that is why many candidates find it helpful to complete preparation courses ahead of time. The test consists of four separate parts: fraud prevention and deterrence, financial transactions, fraud investigation and legal elements of fraud.

To qualify for certified fraud examiner certification, you must have a minimum of a Bachelors degree in any field. (Sometimes specific professional experience may act as a substitute for post secondary education where two years of experience would equate to one year of education). In addition to the educational requirement, you also must have two years of professional experience that is related somehow to fraud examination. Experience in the fields of accounting, auditing, criminology and sociology, loss prevention, fraud investigation and legal studies would count as professional experience.


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White Collar Crime By the Numbers

White collar Crime Info & Statistics Icon of handcuff  surrounding the word fraud
  • Fraud and abuse costs U.S. organizations more than $400 billion annually.
  • The average organization loses more than $9 per day per employee to fraud and abuse.
  • The average organization loses about 6% of its total annual revenue to fraud and abuse
  • The median loss caused by males is about $185,000; by females, about $48,000.
  • The typical perpetrator is a college-educated white male.
  • Men commit nearly 75% of the offenses.
  • Median losses caused by men are nearly four times those caused by women.
  • Losses caused by managers are four times those caused by employees.
  • Median losses caused by executives are 16 times those of their employees.
  • The most costly abuses occur in organizations with less than 100 employees.
  • The education industry experiences the lowest median losses.
  • The highest media losses occur in the real estate financing sector.
  • Occupational fraud and abuses fall into three main categories: asset misappropriation, fraudulent statements, and bribery and corruption.

*Source: Association of Certified Fraud Examiners


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Fraud Examiner FAQ's

What's the Difference between Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination?

Forensic accounting is naturally performed by an accountant (usually certified) who is constantly and actively looking for incidents of fraud and other white collar crimes within a company. Once he or she suspects fraudulent activity he can call in a certified fraud examiner to act as a "detective" to prove or negate whether fraud has taken place. Unlike forensic accountants, fraud examiners are not necessarily accountants; they may also be auditors, notaries, law enforcement personnel, lawyers or a variety of other professional positions.

What's the difference between a Certified Internal Auditor and a Certified Fraud Examiner? Can the education and training be used for either career?

Certified Internal Auditors and Certified Fraud Examiners play different roles and are certified under separate professional associations (The Institute of Internal Auditors versus the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners), although both share similar educational backgrounds in terms of university degrees and professional development courses. Unlike certified fraud examiners, internal auditors do not have to identify that fraud has taken place or investigate suspected fraud cases for the company in which they're employed. Rather their role is to research how and why fraud occurs and to come up with action plans to minimize the risk of fraudulent activity.


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