Fighting Fraud Imposter Syndrome

Aug 25, 2023

What's happening Fraud Fighters?

Ever felt that twinge of doubt despite your expertise, or questioned if you're truly cut out for the challenges that come your way?

You're not alone but,

99% of leaders will never admit their imposter feelings.

I did, and it transformed my leadership.

Here's what you can learn from my journey

Let's investigate further.

Read Time: ~4.11 Minutes

Understand your fraud imposter syndrome

When I first got the job as a fraud manager, I felt like I had jumped into the deep end.

Even with the feeling that I've mastered the art of fighting fraud (or thought I did), I never felt really confident. This is what I wanted and worked so hard for but,

now the game seemed so much bigger.

Was I genuinely prepared for this role? Could I anticipate and build the strategies to detect seasoned fraudsters? The responsibilities that came with my new title were significant. There were moments in the quiet of the office, between meetings and calls, when internal whispers of doubt echoed loudly, debating if I was truly the right fit.

I had a big title and lots of tasks to do.

But inside, I wondered if I was really the best person for the job. Deadlines loomed large and team meetings became a constant. One day, I missed a small mistake in a report, and it felt like all my fears were coming true. I spent many nights thinking, "Did I only look good on paper? Did the people I work with think I made a big mistake?"

My role wasn’t just about catching the fraudsters anymore.

It wasn’t just about catching the fraudsters anymore; it was about leading, guiding, and inspiring an entire team to do it together. While I believed in putting on a brave face for my team, there were times when I felt that they could sense the insecurity simmering.

My role had evolved, but my confidence hadn't.

The mental landscape of a fraud fighter

Doubts and uncertainties don't come out of nowhere.

They are often fueled by underlying mental barriers. It's the nagging thought that whispers, “If I were a true expert, I would have seen this coming.” like Hindsight Bias.

This makes it challenging for fraud fighters, as we continuously find ourselves reevaluating past decisions, pondering over missed red flags, and kick ourselves for oversights.

Compounding this is the continuous journey for External Validation.

You know that feeling? The idea that leadership doesn’t view you as the expert you're supposed to be. The silent nods in meetings, the lack of feedback, or simply being overlooked for a project can make one question their place.

"Maybe they know I'm not cut out for this?" becomes a recurring thought...

Or the sneaky doubt creeps in when you're left out of pivotal discussions or strategies - Participation Dilemma.

"Do they doubt my expertise?" you wonder, leading to feelings of isolation and a hesitancy to contribute, this blocks the crucial collaboration needed to fight fraud.

All of this come together with the overwhelming pressure to be perfect.

Every decision, every move is scrutinized—by yourself. "Is this the perfect move? What if I'm wrong?"

The Perfectionist’s Paradox can be paralyzing.

Transform self-doubt by learning from past mistakes

Confronting these feelings is no easy feat.

Understanding our own doubts and worries at work is really important. One big worry is the Fear of Reputation Damage—believing that one misstep will mark you for life, a stain on your professional record.

And deep-rooted in all this is the Fixed Mindset, the belief that abilities are set in stone, eliminating growth and resilience.

When we make a mistake, instead of seeing it as a chance to learn and grow, this mindset makes us see it as a confirmation of our limitations. Every time we miss a detail or face a challenge, that nagging doubt comes back and whispers, suggesting we aren't cut out for fighting fraud.

It's a vicious cycle.

Here's how I've worked to overcome and eliminate my own self doubt. 12 steps to using my mistakes to build confidence

1. Identify the Mistake:

  • Step 1: Pause and reflect — Avoid reactionary measures; instead, view the situation objectively. (This was hard for me)

  • Step 2: Categorize the mistake — Determine if the error resulted from a missed signal or data misinterpretation.

  • Step 3: Seek feedback — Approach others for varied viewpoints, which can spotlight overlooked aspects.

  • Step 4: Own and grow — Recognize the blunder. This might be the hardest step for most fraud fighters.

2. Analyze Root Causes:

  • Step 5: Conduct initial assessment — Brainstorm the immediate causes to start the investigative process.

  • Step 6: Ask "Why" multiple times — A series of "whys" can unravel the root of the issue.

  • Step 7: Map the narrative — Map the sequence of events that lead to the error to grasp the scenario.

  • Step 8: Revisit Past Incidents — Check if similar mistakes have happened before.

3. Document Everything:

  • Step 9: Record in detail — Meticulously document every facet of the error. This is your ugly first draft.

  • Step 10: Summarize findings — Outline the key takeaways from your root cause assessment.

  • Step 11: Draft preventive measures — Using your findings, strategize on what learnings you can takeaway.

  • Step 12: Share and store securely — Ensure easy access for reference. No point of doing this if you throw it all away.

That’s it

See you again next Friday in your inbox.


→ Today's action step: Read back through this issue and figure out where you’re at. Find the relevant suggestions I laid out and choose just one to move forward with next week.

If you’re looking to build your career, I hope these can be resources for you:

  1. Find Companies Actively Hiring: Have you ever wondered why there are no fraud and trust & safety job boards? Build the fraud career you deserve with job board and career resources.

  2. Upcoming Events: We'll be launching new career resources. Be the first to know about upcoming trainings, workshops, and networking events.

  3. Community: Education. Mentorship. Networking. Jobs. We're currently operating on an invite-only basis as we thoughtfully build our community. Members will be onboarded in small batches so we can ensure a high-quality experience for all.

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