What Are You Worth as a Certified Fraud Examiner?

FROM THE RESOURCE GUIDE

ACFE Staff

Most likely, at one point or another you’ve found yourself in a position where you had to either request a raise or negotiate your salary at the start of a new job. These conversations can sometimes be uncomfortable or, for some people, downright terrifying.

With your experience and expertise, you know what you are worth, but if you don’t have the proof to back it up, your employer or future employer might not be quite as aware as you are. Ultimately, it may prove difficult to convince them of your worth.

In the 2017/2018 Compensation Guide for Anti-Fraud Professionals, we wanted to measure the value of a CFE and found that on average CFEs earn 31% more than their non-CFE colleagues. If you’re a CFE in Asia, you could experience an even bigger difference with a 44% average premium.

Just like in our last Compensation Guide for Anti-Fraud Professionals, we break down the data into several categories — industry, years of experience, gender, age, location and many more. However, this year, we took this a step further and created individual reports for five top industries represented in the responses. Since anti-fraud professionals cover a wide range of industries, we understand the need to explore the data even further.

Jennifer Ikoghode, CFE, M.P.A., criminal fraud investigator for the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, knows that the CFE credential goes further than simply serving as a marker of expertise — it lends authority and clout when she’s called upon to provide an expert opinion. 

We hope the customized industry guides and the main guide provide you with the confidence and information necessary to reach your full professional potential. If you’d like to know more about your specific industry and job function, we’ve developed an interactive salary calculator, which is only available for ACFE members.

As a member, you have access to the salary calculator, as well as industry guides and the full 2017/2018 Compensation Guide for Anti-Fraud Professionals at ACFE.com/compguide. Simply log in when prompted. If there are guide metrics or questions you’d like to see addressed in future guides, send your thoughts and ideas to MemberServices@ACFE.com.

You can find even more resources, products and events in the latest ACFE Resource Guide

Unmasking Corporate Owners in Canada

GUEST BLOGGER

Lincoln Caylor
Litigator focusing on high-stakes, cross-border financial crime disputes
Bennett Jones LLP

Most large-scale fraud, corruption, taxation and other economic crimes have a common characteristic: complex webs of corporations and trusts used to perpetuate schemes and to launder funds. While the “corporate veil” establishes the separate legal identity of corporations for legitimate reasons, it can also aid in the concealment of money and the identities behind it.

By permitting corporate ownership to remain secret, governments facilitate money laundering. Secret corporate ownership occurs when a corporation hides the identities of their true beneficial owners. The Panama Papers serve as the most recent example of the need for transparency of this beneficial ownership. However, it is not a new concern.

In addition to places like Panama, Canada is also an attractive jurisdiction for those looking to keep corporate ownership secret because of its lack of ownership disclosure requirements. But the issue in approaching a solution is not a lack of awareness – Canada is well known to be a hub for these white-collar crimes, facing criticism from nations who have created successful transparency schemes such as the U.K. and the British Virgin Islands (BVI). Bringing the country into compliance with international norms and increasing beneficial ownership transparency has been a recent budget agenda item of the Canadian government, but several factors are continuously highlighted as standing in the way of formal commitment. For example, only 10% of Canadian companies are federally registered, making it difficult to create a national strategy to close loopholes without the cooperation of the provinces.

Despite barriers to prompt resolution of this issue, elements of a successful government approach to monitoring corporate ownership are clear:

  • Strong leadership from the Financial Action Task Force, the G-20 and the U.K.;
  • Coordination with the provinces and foreign governments;
  • A public registry of beneficial corporate owners;
  • Mechanisms to ensure a balance between privacy and social interests; and
  • Successful models to strive toward, such as those in the U.K. and BVI.

Canada is currently a safe harbor for laundered money, but it doesn’t have it to be. This infographic and the steps it lays out give Canadians the steps needed to make progress in the transparency of corporate ownership.

Are you interested in learning more about the latest fraud-related topics and trends that impact Canada? Attend the upcoming 2017 ACFE Fraud Conference Canada in Toronto, October 29-November 1. Register at FraudConference.com/Canada by September 29 and save CAD 100!

Identifying and Preventing Tech Support Scams

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GUEST BLOGGER

Ron Cresswell, J.D., CFE
ACFE Research Specialist

While reading a blog on your laptop, a pop-up message suddenly obscures your computer screen. The message, which appears to be from Microsoft, says that your computer is infected with a virus and instructs you to call a toll-free number immediately. You call the number and speak to a woman who falsely identifies herself as “Sarah with Microsoft Tech Support.” Sarah wants you to download a program that will give her remote access to your computer so that she can diagnose the problem. If you comply, Sarah will claim to find a dangerous virus, or another serious security issue, which she will offer to fix for a fee.

This is called a tech support scam, and, according to the FBI, these scams are on the rise.

Tech Support Scams
In tech support scams, fraudsters impersonate major high-tech companies (usually Microsoft, Apple, Dell or Google) and convince victims to grant remote access to their computers. In most cases, victims are instructed to download and run common remote access software, such as TeamViewer, GoToMyPC or LogMeIn.

The goal of most tech support scams is to convince the victim to pay for unnecessary computer services to repair nonexistent viruses or other problems. However, in other variations on the scam, the fraudsters:

  • Steal the victim’s usernames, passwords and other personal information
  • Install spyware or malware on the victim’s computer
  • Refuse to relinquish control of the computer until the victim pays a ransom
  • Try to sell the victim software that is useless or free
  • Try to enroll the victim in a worthless computer maintenance or warranty program
  • Direct the victim to a website that asks for credit card numbers and other personal information
  • Harass the victim with phone calls seeking additional fees

Prevention
To prevent being victimized by tech support scams, consumers and businesses should take the following precautions:

  • Do not give unknown, unverified persons remote access to computers or install software at their direction.
  • Resist the urge to act quickly. In tech support scams, fraudsters create a sense of urgency and fear to compel the victim to act immediately.
  • Disregard pop-up messages that instruct the user to call a telephone number for tech support. Legitimate companies do not communicate with customers this way. 
  • Hang up on unexpected, urgent calls from outsiders who claim to be tech support, even if the caller ID says Microsoft, Dell, Apple or Google. Those companies do not make unsolicited tech support calls.
  • If there is a question about whether a communication is legitimate, look up the company’s telephone number and call to verify. Do not use the number on the questionable communication (e.g., pop-up message, caller ID).
  • Ensure that computer networks are protected by strong and regularly updated antivirus software and a firewall.

While tech support scams are common, they are usually easy to spot. Generally, they involve an unknown person asking for remote access to your computer. Once identified, such scams can be defeated by following the guidelines listed above.