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Who Investigates Fraud?

Updated on September 29, 2012

Fraud in the USA?

Fraud is a serious crime to commit and many people are caught red handed each and every day. If you are curious about who investigates fraud in the USA you have come to the right place. In order to seek a better job position or find out about what can happen if you end up committing fraud, this simple guide will surely show you the way.

Fraud is dealt with by a very wide range of different people, from government inspectors, police officers and auditors through to forensic accountants and private sector fraud investigators from a wide range of businesses including accountancy firms and other organizations.

Credit Card Fraud

Credit card fraud can arise within a few different situations. You can have your credit card number stolen online or from one of your monthly credit card statements. The thief will use your number in order to make purchases online until the credit limit has been maxed out. You might also run into an issue where a friend might have stolen your credit card for their own personal use. When your credit card has been stolen and you know who has done it, take it straight to the local police. Local detectives will be able to take your statement and other useful information needed to build a case. If you receive the 3 online credit reports, then you can take your issue right to the credit reporting bureaus and they will handle it from there and open the proper investigation.

Other help can be obtained from the investigators employed by the credit card companies who often work hand in hand with the police. Many such companies also liaise with each other, setting up databases of known criminals that can be accessed by the retailers who might be suspicious of customers trying to pay with goods by credit card.

Income Tax Fraud

People who avoid paying their taxes will suffer great consequences.  You may think that you can get away with this type of crime, but each year that you skip out on your taxes, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will start to notice.  You may never even know that an investigation has been opened until they have caught you red handed with enough evidence to take you to court and possibly put you away.  Pay your taxes each year and make sure to keep track of all of the taxable income that you bring in.  IRS agents work on a number of cases today in order to bring down those who feel they can get away without paying a dime to the government. The revenue services have clear employment intakes at several different levels and the great benefit is that you can train and obtain qualifications that will set you up for a later more lucrative career in the private sector.

Federal Bureau of Investigations

The FBI is one of the most well known investigating organizations in the USA today. These government officials have been able to spy on and capture some of America’s toughest criminals and drug dealers. Those who are looking towards this type of job field will need to have a pristine background record. Agents often start from the bottom and work their way to the top, working on a number of high profile cases throughout their careers.

It is however essential that the agent becomes experienced and fully trained in financial matters in addition to the legal and investigating skills they will naturally assume during their enforcement career.

Private Sector Investigators

Many people see a profitable business opportunity setting up as a private fraud investigator. Anybody can do this but it helps if you are accountancy trained and have some contacts in the enforcement agencies. Getting work is all about networking and it may be a better idea to develop a career as a forensic accountant with a reputable firm before branching out on your own.

The good think about being a flexible investigator with key accountancy skills is that there will always be opportunities regardless of whether or not the economy is on the rise or decline. Recession brings frauds to the surface as everybody is more astute about their finances. Equally in flourishing times people have the resources to spend on installing comprehensive prevention systems.

Being expert in fraud issues, however, is not the answer to victims of fraud or those wanting a defence set up against the possibility of it happening to them. It is more of a "business intuition" that is needed when it comes to fraud, as no two frauds are the same and the fraudster is always looking for a new angle.

It is possible to spend $100,000s on top accountancy firms or boutique fraud firms profession to install fancy fraud prevention plans in your organisation. However, I am willing to wager that I would stop more fraud by pinning "fraudbuster" on my charcoal grey suit and walking through a client firm once every month! It is the perception of being aware of fraud and doing something about it that will deter the farudster, more than any number of fancy accounting controls that can be implemented. At the end of the day it is complacency that allows the fraudster to ply his or her trade.


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