I'm a CFE

Rachel Jolicoeur, CFE

Director, fraud prevention and partnership at Interac Corp.

Trust your instincts, keep digging, look for patterns and know how to navigate technology to find anomalies. These are the skills Rachel Jolicoeur, CFE, has learned over the course of her career. “Think like a criminal,” she says. “One of my colleagues taught me that acting like a criminal while you sleuth and exploring how technology is used for illegal means also can provide the answers to wrongdoing. Our fraud analytics group capitalizes on this as part of their strategy to combat financial crimes.” Jolicoeur, the director of fraud prevention and partnership at Interac Corp., says she enjoys a challenge but also fairness. “Fighting fraud ticks both boxes,” she says. “I’m passionate about social responsibility, and this is one way I can make a contribution.”

I was born in beautiful Quebec City, Canada, but raised in Gatineau, Quebec. Gatineau is located near Ottawa, Ontario.

I was an avid volleyball player throughout high school. I learned the value of teamwork playing with such a high-performing team, which ultimately set the course for my career.

Growing up I wanted to help improve my community by building partnerships and meaningful relationships among residents to reduce crime. I’m a stickler for rules and accountability and naturally thought law enforcement was the only path for me. Little did I know there’s an entire industry of crime fighters out there dedicated to combating fraud.

I completed the police foundations program in college and was lucky to get into a similar field quickly by accepting a position as a site officer for a major financial institution. Six months into the position, I was offered a role as a video-support officer within corporate security. I was tasked with retrieving video surveillance of fraud occurrences for the bank, and I loved it. I caught the fraud bug. In my spare time I’d assist investigators by pouring over statements, analyzing transactions for patterns and helping them put the puzzle together.

Contacts are perhaps the most valuable asset for information and assistance. The fraud examination field is known for collaboration and partnerships. After all, it takes a village to catch a criminal!

I worked at the Bank of Montreal in corporate security for two years before transferring to a newly formed distribution risk group as a manager tasked with building a new skimming card investigation team. I’m currently responsible for the creation and implementation of effective fraud prevention programs and community partnerships at Interac Corp. to mitigate fraud losses through awareness and education, and by ensuring an appropriate balance between fraud risk and customer experience.

As reported by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) in 2013, police announced numerous arrests in a fraud ring that saw forged credit and debit cards used throughout Canada, the U.S. and Europe with a financial exposure to the banks estimated at $76 million. Our fraud prevention team was a key player with the TTC, police, banks and Global Payments Canada. Together we compiled information in our respective areas of expertise to pinpoint where and when the fraudulent behavior was occurring.

The CFE credential has given me more knowledge on which to create and enhance effective fraud prevention programs and assist in understanding new and upcoming fraud trends. This improves our ability to be as proactive as possible in our programs. I also share my learning with our fraud analytics and fraud operations teams, which they use to build stronger fraud detection systems.

Embrace the learning opportunities around you and don’t underestimate the benefit of a knowledgeable network. Contacts are perhaps the most valuable asset for information and assistance. The fraud examination field is known for collaboration and partnerships. After all, it takes a village to catch a criminal! Start at ground level, learn through experience and combine that with your strong points to find your niche.

One of my greatest achievements was when I helped save the financial banking industry millions of dollars by creating a merchant awareness rewards program that compensated retailers and their employees for finding tampered point-of-sale devices.

In my free time I like to get creative with cooking and spending time with friends and family — it’s great combo that works well together. I’m also very active outdoors. I like biking, running, woodworking and doing renovations.

Emily Primeaux, CFE, is associate editor of Fraud Magazine. Contact her at eprimeaux@ACFE.com.