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Criminal Justice Articles

A day in the life of an Economic Crime Investigator

An economic crime investigator may encounter many challenges during their daily life in the field. A day may start by being called to a crime scene, which could happen at midnight or three in the afternoon. A crime scene has no schedule, and the investigator must quickly yet safely arrive at the scene for investigation. An economic crime scene will usually entail a visit to the company that has been attacked by an economic criminal. At this point the economic investigator will be presented either with access to the information network or the company documents and records, and in most cases, both.

The investigator will spend hours, days or weeks searching and looking for clues to the infraction or crime committed against the company in question. This will involve scouring digital records of access logs, which are compared against employees and persons with known access to the information at hand. The information is submitted to the investigator's superiors or the company that hired the individual. Each week, reports are made on the current cases and assignments an investigator has taken on to keep the data current and pertinent to the cases. Should no employee be found responsible, the investigator will turn their attention to external attacks and accesses.

External threats and access are more difficult to track and monitor due to the nature of technology and the fact that criminals are increasingly becoming more resourceful. In these instances, more than one investigator will be used in determining the access point or location from which the information or assets were taken. This will involve the use of other agencies and cooperative work between them. An economic investigator will not always be using technology for data and evidence retrieval process; they may need to dig through trash or perform surveillance on a suspected economic criminal. Watching and reporting on the suspects is another large portion of an investigator's day to day life.

Surveillance can lead to finding suspects and evidence that may bring the investigation to an end, and the criminals to justice, just as with a murder or rape case. The economic crime investigator will take notes, pictures and video footage to confirm or deny the suspect as a pertinent part of any given case. Surveillance may be carried out as wire taps, communications monitoring, as in email and instant messaging, and the monitoring of access and sessions logs from company servers and personal computers. All of this information is compiled, studied and put into a report to be used by the arresting and legal organizations to continue the proceedings.

The economic investigator simply reports their findings on the case and any information that is related. They do not arrest or prosecute suspects but occasionally are called into court to testify. The investigator needs to pay close attention to details and have a keen eye for deductive reasoning to determine the causes and motives for the individual or individuals being investigated.

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