Whether it’s identity theft, health insurance fraud, pyramid schemes, and everything in between, cases of fraud can truly vary. If there is intent to deceive, then the persons involved are guilty of fraud. The negative effects of fraud aren’t limited to financial dissipation, serious injury and even death can be a result in serious cases of fraud. When fraud is detected and reported, full-scale investigations will ensue. A fraud investigation will determine whether a scam–no matter its nature–has taken place while evidence will be gathered to protect the victims involved.
The Basics in Fraud Investigations
Typically, fraud investigations will begin with a meeting between the client and the hired investigator. During this meeting, the client will explain to the investigator their reason for suspect, and will provide any necessary evidence that backs their gut feeling. Once the meeting is over, the investigator will use the initial information provided to them to start their investigation. Here are some of their next steps:
- Identifying the Type of Fraud: Once the initial stages of the investigation have commenced, it’s up to the investigator to determine the type of fraud they are dealing with. Correctly labeling the type of fraud at hand can help one target the right contacts and make proper assessments. Due to their vast nature, fraud cases can fall under federal, state, or local agencies.
- Creating an Investigative Plan: Creating a plan of action is essential in executing a successful fraud investigation. Usually, this will involve placing the events leading up to the crime in chronological order. Taking everything step by step and creating a sound plan will only further assist in uncovering the criminal.
- Victim Interviews: During the investigation process, the investigator will need to get to know the victim better in order to fully do their job. Many investigators will conduct background checks to ensure that their victim’s motives are good while conducting various interviews for accuracy. Details are the key the solving a case, so the more the victim and the investigator discuss the series of events, the better chance the investigator has in moving forward in the case.
- Evidence: To secure more evidence, the investigator will interview as many people and institutions that could prove to be helpful to the case. Investigators must ensure that they have all copies of credit statements, emails, bank accounts, phone records, etc., in order to piece together a sound case. Without these essential pieces of evidence, a case will have no hope to stick in court. Once the investigator has collected all the evidence needed, it should be thoroughly analyzed and secured in a case file.
As fraud cases can cause many problems and pitfalls–like most cases–it’s highly important for investigators to remain professional and composed at all times. Staying focused is the key to solving difficult cases of fraud. While these are just the basic steps involved in a fraud investigation, investigators have a long road ahead of them to serve justice to their clients.
This post was written by Specialized Investigation Consultants. Specialized Investigations Consultants is a professional Miami-based investigation company founded, owned and operated by current and retired law enforcement professionals. Our Miami-based investigations business serves all of South Florida with over 100 years of combined State, Federal and Local law enforcement experience.