I'm a CFE

Erik Anderson, CFE

Senior program manager, global security compliance & validation at Amazon

Fighting fraud for Erik Anderson, CFE, is so much more than conducting an examination. “I fight fraud by making sure what we’re doing is right,” says Anderson. “Whether I’m on the front lines of an investigation or using the principles of a fraud examination to better understand the risk to the organization, being a good fraud examiner is about challenging yourself to stand up for what’s right and seeking that out with passion.” In 2017, Anderson took his passion for doing the right thing to Seattle, Washington, to join Amazon as a senior program manager in its global security operations. “They asked me to lead a team to audit Amazon facilities worldwide,” says Anderson. “After meeting with the team and receiving the job, my family and I packed up and moved to the Pacific Northwest.”

I was born in Springfield, Missouri. I lived there for 18 years before moving to Texas for college. My family owned a farm, so we spent almost every weekend outside. Some of my favorite activities growing up were fishing, swimming and riding all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). My family was active in sports, so if we weren’t outside we were attending some kind of basketball, cross country or track event. I was a distance runner early in life, and that passion has stayed with me ever since.

I always wanted to be a detective. Later in life, I decided I wanted to be a doctor. I’ve always been naturally curious, so solving mysteries became my calling — whether it was mysteries of crime, of science or now of business. While I went a slightly different direction with my career, I’m still challenged daily to solve the mystery in front of me.

I graduated from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas (gig em’ Aggies!) with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a minor in Business. During my time in college, I was very active in leadership and service organizations, like Aggie Leaders of Tomorrow, a student-led organization that helped empower students to learn leadership qualities. After graduation, I began my career with Target in retail loss prevention, and then in investigations and fraud examinations. But I found my true calling in internal audit. I love how audit’s able to add value to all parts of an organization. My time that I worked in security and investigations gives me a unique expertise in operational audits where I’ve become a subject-matter expert.

I joined Loomis Armored in April 2013 in a newly created role. My job was to visit sites around the U.S. and identify the root causes of risk and loss to those sites. I traveled often and quickly realized that though I was making an organizational impact, there was an opportunity to standardize this effort by building an internal audit team that focused on diving deeper into operations. Over the next two years, I built Loomis’ first internal audit program, and I was promoted to vice president, audit & compliance. I fell in love with creating and building something new, and I learned that I’m passionate about identifying problems and innovating solutions. I would soon learn that Amazon calls this leadership principle “invent and simplify.”

I've learned that to be a good interviewer, you have to be a good listener, be observant and pay attention to the details.

At Amazon we have a saying: “Work Hard. Have Fun. Make History.” My job as a senior program manager is really pretty simple: challenge my team to think big. More specifically, I own global security policy, risk management, audit and compliance for all Amazon sites globally. My teams supports global operations to ensure all Amazon people, information and assets are kept secure.

I’ve learned that to be a good interviewer, you have to be a good listener, be observant and pay attention to the details. These skills not only make you a good fraud examiner — they make you a good leader. I’ve moved from investigations to audits and now to leading teams, and the key to success is the same: listen to those around you, don’t be afraid to ask questions and obsess over the details.

I’ve met some of my closest professional connections through the ACFE. Both Loomis and Amazon are members of the ACFE Corporate Alliance, where I’ve had the honor of serving on the Executive Roundtable for several years. After each roundtable session, I find myself challenged and enriched by the time I spend with some of the best fraud-fighting professionals in the world. There’s something to be said about feeling comfortable picking up the phone and reaching out to peers who face the same challenges I do every day. Without question, the ACFE has provided a network that adds value to my professional career.

My greatest achievement will always be my family — my wife and the two greatest kids anyone could ask for. I’m passionate about what I do, and I have a lot to be thankful for in my career, but nothing compares to the joy I get from my family. We enjoy hiking together and spend as much time outside as we can. I run at least one half-marathon a year. Recently my four-year-old daughter finished her first competitive run (1K) with my wife and me. Even after falling during the race and skinning her hands and knees she never gave up. She got up, dusted herself off  and finished the race strong. She has a strong competitive spirit, and I’m afraid my days of beating her in a race are quickly ending.

Emily Primeaux, CFE, is associate editor of Fraud Magazine. Her email address is: eprimeaux@ACFE.com.