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A fraud analyst is someone who investigates forgery and theft within customers’ accounts and transactions on behalf of a bank or a financial institution. They track and monitor the bank’s transactions and activity that comes through the customers’ accounts. It is their job to identify and trace any suspicious or high-risk transactions, determine if there is improper activity involved, and determine if there is any risk to the bank or its customers.
A fraud analyst is responsible for observing various customer transactions to flag or identify suspicious activity. Most accounts and customers have banking patterns that typically do not change over the long term. Any transactions or series of transactions that do not fit the expected activity generate a 'red flag', and will be looked at by a fraud analyst.
If any suspicious transactions are found, the fraud analyst will flag the account and keep it suspended until it can be checked and verified. Transactions can be looked at for any number of reasons: transaction type, transaction amount, unusual transfers to unlikely partners, places where transactions originate, or a flurry of activity beyond the accepted norm for the account.
For any suspicious transactions, the fraud analyst (typically an officer of the bank) will try to obtain information that can support the origin of the transaction. For fraudulent items, this information can bear out who perpetrated the fraudulent item and is responsible for the criminal activity in question. The analyst will contact the bank branch, the account holder, and any other intermediate parties that may have come in contact with or handled the questionable item. They are responsible for keeping any collected information confidential while working to catch the criminal(s) who may have committed the felony.
The fraud analyst must also keep models for analyzing fraud within the bank’s regions. This can help determine patterns of fraud over certain areas, and break down larger criminal rings responsible for fraud activity. This can also help to identify certain holes in security that can be targeted over time, so that the bank can identify system improvements that can be made to eliminate the risk of fraud or reduce the ways in which it can occur. The analyst may even have a say in software tools that can work towards detecting fraud and preventing it from occurring, or reporting security threats and suspicious activity quickly.
The workplace for a fraud analyst is typically in a corporate office environment. The fraud analyst will typically be in a regional or central office, where he or she can monitor activity from multiple sources at once. At a moment’s notice, the fraud analyst may be able to access any type of data needed to investigate troublesome activity.
Beyond that, it will be helpful to have any experience in programs or projects that can project a clear problem-solving or investigative ability. These traits are critical, and it is vital that the applicant can display a knack for quickly solving complex problems or spotting errors and discrepancies that the normal eye may not be able to see.