Millions of online transactions happen at any given moment requiring someone to keep an eye out for potential fraud threats. Fraud analysts work extremely hard to identify those taking advantage of stolen information or deceptive practices and spot criminal trends such as phishing, social engineering and chargeback, to prevent them occurring both today and in the future.
Do you have an investigative mind? Or do you possess outstanding analytical ability? With high demand amongst employers for new talent to enter the fraud industry, Simon Hockridge, Principal Consultant at Robert Walters, shares five reasons to consider a career as a fraud analyst.
Motivating investigative work
Fraud analysts are a team of behavioural specialists and forensic investigators. If you enjoy investigative work, in-depth analysis and considering multiple perspectives, you’ll find your passions can actually help you develop your skills in the field.
Simon comments, “The career is really rewarding for those individuals who love solving puzzles, tackling intellectual challenges or possess mathematical or analytical ability. The job really allows you to unleash your creativity and make effective decisions immediately to help businesses thrive.”
You might think that you need to have a PhD in statistics or previous policing experience to be qualified for a fraud analyst career, however Simon explains this is a common misconception.
Simon highlights “not many people realise the diversity of fraud analysts’ backgrounds and that your degree doesn’t need to be in a specific field. Of course, an analysis-driven degree or previous military intelligence experience are both beneficial, but what you really need is an inquiring mind, determination to see things through, and the creativity to uncover new sources of information”
Working with advanced technology
Fraud is an industry which is truly able to add value by fully maximising the benefits of technology. With automation and decisioning-tools being adopted across fraud departments, professionals are supported in the analysis and interpretation of data to detect fraudulent activity.
Simon continues, “The fraud function is undergoing rapid technological transformation. Data science and artificial intelligence (AI) enables fraud analysts to make meaningful insights from data, instead of spending time going through thousands of transactions.”
Simon further expands on how you can add value instantaneously by interacting with emergent fraud technologies.
“Part of making your ideas a reality involves working closely with programmers and data scientists to make them part of the technical system – a process you’ve created that proves effective against the prevention of fraud, data protection or customer protection could be implemented within days or even hours” says Simon.
Multiple career opportunities
Although considered a niche, select area of activity in fraud are a wide-ranging function that opens up numerous career paths.
“Many mistakenly consider fraud as confined to the banking and financial services industry, but fraud is an emerging function in several industries, including online retail, the government and manufacturing. As a fraud analyst, there are opportunities for you to work across distinct sectors,” Simon highlights.
A career in fraud presents the opportunity to diversify across multiple sectors, depending on your personal preference, you have the option to pursue either the investigative or preventative and then you can go on to specialise in selected areas.
Simon continues, “A fraud analyst career can be divided into the investigative area, whereby analysts focus on the ‘after event’ of fraudulent activity, and the analytical, preventative area, focusing on the business impact of fraud prevention.”
“Choose an area that fascinates you, focus on it, and become an expert.”
Many industries are realising the value of forming a fraud department in their businesses, providing you with scope for vertical progression and the opportunity to acquire additional managerial responsibilities.
“Fraud analysis is a booming market, with teams being formed and expanded further to meet the growing demand for skilled professionals. This is opening up new managerial and senior level positions to enable you to progress your career.”
Stimulating workplace culture
In a fraud analyst career, as well as encountering challenging and enriching work, you’ll also be surrounded by like-minded, creative individuals.
“One of the best parts of the job is the energy of the team you’re working with – you’re very much learning on the job from talented and experienced individuals. A fraud team is a hive of activity, constantly generating fresh ideas, sharing knowledge and continuously trialling new processes.”
“You will be part of a team that thrives under a busy environment which presents new challenges (or opportunities) every day, as criminals are constantly coming up with new techniques, or new payment systems are implemented that are vulnerable to fraudulent action,” Simon explains.
If you’re motivated by a challenging and rewarding career where you’re constantly solving new, complex problems, you’re already on the way to excel as a fraud analyst.