Find a Fraudster: A Unique Networking Experience

By Tim Harvey, CFE
ACFE U.K. Chapter President

The ACFE U.K. Chapter continues to offer new and innovative networking opportunities for local ACFE members and non-members. Recently, we offered an event called, “Find a Fraudster.” We received many positive comments from those who attended the event and the opportunity to meet other fraud fighters. I’d like to share the experience as you may like to run a similar event.  

This event, first and foremost was a networking event, where attendees were encouraged to meet new friends and colleagues. The objective was to move around the room and network with as many people as possible while also working to correctly identify the fraudster in the room. 

We have held this event in previous years by hiring a local actor. However, this year worked better as we used an ex-detective to play the fraudster. We created a fictional history of our fraudster; where she worked and lived, and other minor details. The detective was told to lie to any question which would directly reveal that she was the fraudster, but to answer questions that agreed in her background. 

To begin the event, we explained the instructions to the attendees. We dissuaded participants from directly asking, “Are you the fraudster?” since that question would be met with blatant lies. We encouraged attendees to trust their senses and learn from listening to others. The important thing was to not let the “Find a Fraudster” bit detract from meeting and networking with people with similar interests. Within a half hour of starting, the room was awash with conversations.

Towards the end of the event, we invited people to name the fraudster. Luckily, this year I was not nominated although several upstanding members of society were. The fraudster was correctly identified by three individuals whose names were put into a hat. We then drew the winner’s name and awarded her with a bottle of champagne. 

Once the identity of the fraudster was revealed, she gave a brief outline of her real life (an ex-detective who now runs her own training company) and identified some of the red flags she had dropped into conversations. Many of these were inconsistencies, some subtle, but eagerly picked up on by our winners. It is a good exercise in politely delving into a new member’s life as well as a great exercise in listening.

We held this event at a public house (pub or bar) that had a separate room away from the primary bar to make sure our group was isolated. We charged £20 (USD 28) for members and non-members alike, which included drinks from the bar and a buffet. We had more than 50 people in attendance. After food and beverage expenses and the bottle of champagne, we walked away with a small profit and the attendees experienced a fun and unique networking opportunity.

This was a short after-work event which proved popular with those who attended. People even continued to network after the event was over. It is affordable, easy to run, and a great way to network. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at