Q&A with Edward Ofori, CFE

Edward Ofori of Finland became a CFE after preparing for the CFE Exam with the CFE Exam Prep Course. Ofori became interested in fraud when someone close to him fell victim to a Ponzi scheme, giving Ofori the desire to pursue a career in fighting fraud. So this last year, Ofori put aside some time to focus on accomplishing his goal of obtaining his CFE credential. Ofori says obtaining the CFE credential has given him the authority to make recommendations concerning fraud-related issues to his employer. When Ofori is not working, he enjoys watching football and spending time with his friends and family.

Coach: When did you receive your CFE credential?

Ofori: I received my CFE credential on May 25, 2018.

Coach: Please describe your experience using the CFE Exam Prep Course.

Ofori: My experience using the Prep Course was phenomenal. I was a member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners for almost a year, and when I decided to take the CFE Exam, the Prep Course gave me a smooth passage in reaching my desired destination.

Coach: What did you like most about the CFE Exam Prep Course?

Ofori: I consider the Prep Course a passport with valuable information that helped me pass the CFE Exam on my first attempt. The structure of the Prep Course is very clear and simple, and it articulates the most important points and covers the vital concepts from the Fraud Examiners Manual.

Coach: How long did it take you to complete the Prep Course, and how often did you study?

Ofori: It took me about two months to complete the Prep Course, which included studying all four sections of the course and taking the practice test for each section three times. I studied almost two hours every day.

Coach: In what ways do you feel that your new CFE credential will be beneficial to you in your current profession?

Ofori: Obtaining the CFE credential has given me so much authority in making recommendations concerning fraud-related issues to my employer, and I am now being respected as an expert with in-depth knowledge about fraud.

Coach: Would you recommend the Prep Course to your colleagues?

Ofori: There is no doubt in my mind when it comes to using the Prep Course because it is filled with priceless information, and the simplicity of its structure made it easy for me to learn. So, yes, I would recommend the Prep Course to my colleagues who want to obtain the CFE credential.

Coach: How did you become passionate about fighting fraud?

Ofori: My desire to fight fraud was born out of the damage I experienced with close family relations who fell victim to Ponzi schemes in Ghana. The many lives, dreams, and futures that were destroyed by investing in Ponzi schemes gave me the desire to pursue a career in fighting fraud.

Coach: When you’re not fighting fraud, what do you like to do for fun, and what do you find enjoyable about it?

Ofori: I have a passion for football. I support Manchester United, so when I am not working, I spend time with my friends and family watching football and analyzing the games.

Coach: Do you have any study tips or suggestions for aspiring CFEs?

Ofori: My advice to aspiring CFEs is that it pays to fight fraud; the joy you feel when you uncover a fraud that could have damaged a company or people’s lives is incalculable. When studying, try to understand the concepts very well. Memorizing the answers in the Prep Course will not be the right approach because, though similar, the questions are not the same.

Q&A with Amelia Tercero, CFE

Amelia Tercero of California received her CFE credential this past fall after studying with the CFE Exam Prep Course. Tercero found the Law section beneficial, especially learning the different types of fraud schemes and transactions, as she works in banking. Having the CFE credential has given Tercero more confidence and an urge to become a lawyer. In her free time, Tercero enjoys spending time with family and friends, as well as having some lazy days

Coach: When did you receive your CFE credential?

Tercero: I was certified on January 3, 2019. After I received my CFE certificate, I had it nicely framed! It’s all worth it, I promise!

Coach: Please describe your experience using the CFE Exam Prep Course.

Tercero: Originally, I was planning to do a thirty day online course plan. I had purchased the online Prep Course and later started using the online Fraud Examiners Manual—do browse the online Fraud Examiners Manual. But from October through December 2018, I participated in the ninety Day CFE Exam Challenge, which had great engagement and teamwork, along with participation in the forum.

The Prep Course is user-friendly and easy to navigate and understand. You will like that you can set your goal dates from start to completion. The tracker was motivating for me because you see your progression and have an idea of where you are and what to focus on, and you get to see your level of understanding of each concept. All of the review sessions and practice tests prepare you for the final exam and offer a lot of practice. There are plenty of questions in the bank to gain the knowledge for your final exam. You can practice as much as you want, and you can use the filter option to break down the topics from the main concepts. The Prep Course shows you your scored percentage, and it’s easy to understand.

The practice tests are timed, so keep track of your time before the final exam to see how long the test is taking you to complete and improve if you need to. Always take a practice test before your final exam, and review any key notes you prepared along the way that helped you. The final is a timed, closed-book exam.

Coach: What did you like most about the Prep Course?

Tercero: I liked the improvement tracker and how well it captures your individual knowledge. You put in what you expect out of it, and the score doesn’t lie.

Coach: How long did it take you to complete the Prep Course, and how often did you study?

Tercero: I studied 7 days a week, and I ramped up studying during the weekends. I read, reviewed, and reread. I completed the entire course on November 14, 2018, meaning all the review questions for all four sections. Then I began the practice tests in preparation, one at a time, before the final exam.

Coach: In what ways do you feel that your new CFE credential will be beneficial to you in your current profession?

Tercero: The Law section was crucial, especially learning the differences of civil versus criminal and federal versus state. The section tied into the Bank Secrecy Act, anti-money laundering, and types of fraud schemes and transactions that I had seen before in banking but more in-depth. The material contained emerging schemes, defined transactions, and auditing and investigating. The Law section applied to all industries, especially to financial services with added confidence toward the public sector, should I ever find myself on that route down the road—it made me want to be a lawyer!

Coach: Would you recommend the Prep Course to your colleagues?

Tercero: Yes, and I have been all along.

Coach: How did you become passionate about fighting fraud?

Tercero: Wow, I think that would be a book in itself. I have been exposed to fraud in so many ways, both externally and internally, having been in the financial services industry for so long. I have had the mentality that every day is an audit day.

I like innovation and open-mindedness, so now I am in the financial technology industry. My background consists of management, operations, compliance, some audit, accounting, sales, and taxation, both business and consumer. I liked risk management, too.

Coach: Now that we know what you do professionally, what do you like to do for fun, and what do you find enjoyable about it?

Tercero: I spend my free time with family, friends, and pets. I play piano, have lazy days, and travel when I can. I enjoy the beach—no wonder I couldn’t leave California. I have been picking up reading more than usual.

Coach: Do you have any study tips or suggestions for aspiring CFEs?

Tercero: Having a purpose in mind and knowing what you want in the end is important, so write it down. During your course of studying and learning, you will begin to think about it. You might not know it right away, although some do. For me it was to work in investigations and financial crimes in the financial services industry. I needed to specialize in a field where I could use my background and passion in fighting and preventing fraud to find out the why, where, when, how, and who.

I suggest looking at the resources and career Web pages on the ACFE’s website. I built my profile, added my résumé, joined my local chapter, and got acquainted with the types of jobs out there for CFEs. Coming across people that I otherwise would not have met is rewarding.

When studying, take breaks, walk/exercise, and breathe. It’s okay to sigh and get oxygen to the brain. Recoup and then get back to studying; your mind will be more alert. Learn what time is best for you to study, and try to be consistent with that time.

Q&A with Daniel Michener, CFE

Daniel Michener of Minnesota received his CFE credential this past fall after attending a CFE Exam Review Course.. Daniel feels that the CFE credential has opened his eyes to other areas of fraud he wouldn’t normally investigate and that it will help his credibility as an investigator. When Daniel is not working, he trains judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu because he enjoys the challenge of the workout. Daniel also enjoys playing the guitar and traveling.

Coach: When did you receive your CFE credential?

Michener: I received my CFE credential in August of 2018.

Coach: After attending the CFE Exam Review Course, you sat for the CFE Exam on-site. Please describe your experience of participating in the four-day course and sitting for the exam immediately afterward.

Michener: The four-day course and exam are incredibly quick and thorough. The instructors were fantastic at presenting the material and keeping the class moving along. I really enjoyed the training. I think the high-speed atmosphere forced me to focus on the material as I was more engaged. Taking the exams each day puts pressure on you to stay on task and follow along; it’s difficult to daydream!

Coach: What did you like most about the CFE Exam Review Course?

Michener: I thought the material was relevant and encompassed the spectrum of fraud topics. There was some material I was already comfortable with from my work, but I found most of the topics to be new concepts. So I enjoyed the challenge of learning new material.

Coach: In what ways do you feel that your new CFE credential will be beneficial to you in your current profession?

Michener: As a police officer, I am called to testify on cases. I believe the CFE credential will help in my credibility as an investigator and when I am called to present evidence in court. Second, the CFE credential has opened my eyes to other areas of fraud I don’t normally investigate. It has also given me the opportunity to connect with people in the private sector. Building partnerships between law enforcement and private enterprises is so important to serving the public overall. Law enforcement can’t do it alone, so those connections are needed.

Coach: How did you prepare yourself to sit for the exam on-site? Did you spend any additional time studying after class each day?

Michener: I had to take advantage of the breaks. I have never been a person who can simply read a chapter and then take a test on it; I need to take my notes and the readings and rewrite them. This type of drill was important in retaining and understanding key terms and concepts. I found that studying after each class was difficult. The days are long and you cram in so much material, so you need a break. That’s why I spent several months studying prior to taking the exam. My goals were to walk into the course feeling comfortable with the material and to tighten up any areas I was weak in.

Coach: Would you recommend this course to your colleagues?

Michener: I would recommend the Review Course because it will enhance your skills and reenergize you to approach your work when you get back home. It will open your eyes to a large field of study and the potential to become an expert in certain areas.

Coach: How did you become passionate about fighting fraud?

Michener: I actually became interested in money laundering several years ago. I never thought I would take this career path, but my interest in financial crimes pushed me into fraud investigations. I enjoy the challenge and learning new skills and techniques for my career. It is a tough subject and requires constant attention to details, but it is rewarding when you see the results and understand the nature of the case.

Coach: Now that we know what you do professionally, what do you like to do for fun and what do you find enjoyable about it?

Michener: I train judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Besides the intense workouts, it is always a challenge. No matter how good you get, there is always someone better. The pressure teaches you to relax during stressful moments and think your way through a problem. I also play some guitar, and I love to travel. I’ve been to Brazil, Morocco, Spain, Iceland, and England. I enjoy all of these activities because they force me to get out of my comfort zone and try new things.

Coach: Do you have any study tips or suggestions for aspiring CFEs?

Michener: Start early! Sign up for the Review Course as soon as you can and take the exams on the CFE Exam Prep Course. I knocked out the larger review sessions first, and then I did the practice exams. Because you can take the practice exams as many times as you want, I constantly drilled those—even after getting a passing grade. Also, seek out people who’ve taken the exam before and listen to their advice. I was fortunate that my supervisor and coworker had taken the exam before me. Their advice and tips were important, and they helped motivate me to take the exam seriously.

Q&A with Anjum Madan, CFE

This past fall, Anjum Madan of Canada put some time aside to focus on accomplishing her goal of obtaining the CFE credential. After preparing with the CFE Exam Prep Course, Anjum was certified in December 2018. Anjum feels that her new credential has given her a confidence boost, as well as a great knowledge base to refer to in her fraud prevention career. When Anjum is not working, she enjoys spending time with her rescue pup from Mexico named Quilla.

Coach: When did you receive your CFE credential?

Madan: I received my credential in December 2018.

Coach: Please describe your experience using the CFE Exam Prep Course.

Madan: I found that the Prep Course helped me focus on the most important topics. It also gave me direction as to where to start my journey because seeing the Fraud Examiners Manual in its entirety was very daunting.

Coach: What did you like most about the Prep Course?

Madan: I liked the flexibility to study in the way that made the most sense to me. At first, I studied whole sections at a time, but then I realized that, for me, it was better to study one topic at a time.

Coach: How long did it take you to complete the Prep Course and, how often did you study?

Madan: In total, it took me a couple of years of starting and stopping the Prep Course to complete it. However, the last time I began using the Prep Course again was during the 90-Day Challenge. I finished the course in two-and-a-half months. I studied for at least one hour each weekday. If, for some reason, I was unable to study for five hours during the week, or I felt particularly stuck on a topic, I would put in a couple of hours over the weekend.

Coach: In what ways do you feel that your new CFE credential will be beneficial to you in your current profession?

Madan: I come from a design and customer service background, so I earned the CFE credential more for myself. It is a huge confidence booster to know that I have put in the time and have a great knowledge base to refer to. In addition, it shows employers that I am serious about a career in fraud prevention.

Coach: Would you recommend this course to your colleagues?

Madan: I would recommend this course to those who would like to pursue a career in fraud prevention.

Coach: How did you become passionate about fighting fraud?

Madan: I have always been curious when things don't quite seem right and have felt the need to figure out why. It started in a summer job that I had in the British High Commission where stamps in passports that looked out of place made me start asking questions.

Coach: Now that we know what you do professionally, what do you like to do for fun and what do you find enjoyable about it?

Madan: I have a rescue pup from Mexico named Quilla, and we love going for long walks and exploring the trails. We love it even more when the weather warms up!

Coach: Do you have any study tips or suggestions for aspiring CFEs?

Madan: I have two tips: Take notes as you go through the Prep Course. Make note of any questions you answer incorrectly or when you are unsure of what some of the options mean—go back and study those. Those notes are also great to refer to right before you take your final exams. Secondly, read the questions very carefully. Sometimes it is easy to think you know the right answer, but the way the question is worded results in that being the incorrect answer.

Q&A with Greg Burri, CFE

Greg Burri of Ohio recently became a CFE after attending a CFE Exam Review Course. Greg began his career in law enforcement, but, as his career progressed, he realized the damage that is caused by white-collar crime. So, this past fall, Greg put some time aside to focus on accomplishing his goal of obtaining his CFE credential. Having the CFE credential has given Greg the same sense of accomplishment in uncovering a complex fraud as he once felt catching a bad guy in a foot chase. When Greg is not working, he enjoys hiking, biking, and kayaking.

Coach: When did you receive your CFE credential?

Burri: I received my CFE credential in September 2018.

Coach: You attended the CFE Exam Review Course in Chicago, Illinois, and, following the course, you sat for the CFE Exam on-site. Please describe your experience of participating in the four-day course and then sitting for the exam immediately afterward.

Burri: My experience was fairly intense. I don’t want to put anyone off, but you really have to stay focused during the Review Course and for the exam each day. It’s not overwhelming, though. If you’re successful enough to need the CFE credential, you can do it.

Coach: What did you like most about the CFE Exam Review Course?

Burri: It matched my style of learning. I am a more auditory and visual learner; I can’t just sit down and read a book and learn the material very well. Having someone explain the content was very helpful. It also helped to have the topics organized and condensed.

Coach: In what ways do you feel that your new CFE credential will be beneficial to you in your current profession?

Burri: I have rarely seen jobs posted in the private sector where a credential was not required or preferred for fraud investigation positions. Often, the CFE credential is used as an example of a preferred credential, and it can be applied to a number of industries. There are credentials for more specific fraud types, but the CFE credential is well-regarded as being fundamental.

Coach: How did you prepare yourself to sit for the CFE Exam on-site? Did you spend any additional time studying after class each day?

Burri: I did attempt the CFE Exam Prep Course, but it wasn’t as helpful to me as was my background in law enforcement. My experience in law enforcement prepared me for the Law and Investigation sections of the CFE Exam, in addition to the Review Course.

I think there was only one day that I went over notes between the Review Course and the CFE Exam. There is a lot of information to absorb, and I didn’t feel that cramming was advantageous.

Coach: Would you recommend the CFE Exam Review Course to your colleagues?

Burri: Yes, I think the Review Course makes you substantially more prepared.

Coach: How did you become passionate about fighting fraud?

Burri: I began my career in law enforcement, and a lot of people in that field are looking for high-speed excitement. Admittedly, I, too, was looking for that excitement to some degree. As my career progressed, I realized the damage that could be done by white-collar crime and the lack of resources in this area. Also, I found a similar sense of accomplishment in uncovering a complex fraud as I did in catching a bad guy in a foot chase.

Coach: Now that we know what you do professionally, what do you like to do for fun and what do you find enjoyable about it?

Burri: I love outdoor activities and hiking, kayaking, and biking. It’s the balance I need for sitting in front of a computer for forty hours a week.

Coach: Do you have any study tips or suggestions for aspiring CFEs?

Burri: You should really evaluate what kind of a learner you are. Think about your previous academic successes and failures, and then apply that to studying for the CFE Exam. There is no one way to study.