Training and Networking Keys to CFE Success


Terry Sumner, CFE, CFS, MBA
Internal Revenue Agent/Anti-Money Laundering Examiner
Internal Revenue Service
Dallas, TX

In a 2008 Psychological Medicine survey, speaking up at a meeting and speaking in public were ranked as the top two fears among participants. Yet Terry R. Sumner, CFE, CFS, an Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) agent and anti-money laundering examiner, said meeting new contacts in the fraud-fighting field was one of the main reasons he joined the ACFE. He deems networking as one of the most important aspects of a fraud professional’s education. Networking, teamed with interviewing training, is this IRS agent’s one-two punch for taking out some of the most dangerous fraudsters and money launderers.

What made you decide to become a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and how has the credential benefited you in your career?

I wanted the ability to interact with other fraud professionals, as well as to further my education and training. The credential has helped me to know what elements are needed for a good criminal referral, and it has increased my knowledge of interviewing and conducting investigations.

What do you enjoy most about your career as a CFE?

I most enjoy the feeling I have that I am protecting my country by detecting unlawful activity and terrorism.

In your opinion, what are some of the biggest challenges and opportunities for CFEs today?

One of the largest challenges is “thinking outside of the box” with the latest techniques that are used to commit fraud. The opportunities are both satisfaction in a job well done, as well as the ability to assist peers in new techniques used for investigations and fraud detection.

How important is networking to you as an anti-fraud professional?

Networking is one of the most important aspects to any fraud professional’s education. Many times other CFEs have detected the people or techniques for fraud I am investigating. Annual fraud conference presentations give me ideas on where to look during my examinations to detect potential fraud and where to test the business anti-money laundering program for improvements. The instructors are always ready to answer my questions both at the conference as well as during the year.

What advice would you give to someone hoping to follow a similar career path as you?

This is one of the most personally rewarding careers in the IRS. I would advise someone to get as much training in all aspects of fraud and in life experience so that they can relate to the businesses that they are examining. I would tell them to get training so they have the ability to find new methods in the commission of fraud.

Read the complete profile here.