Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) Certification
What is a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)?
A Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) is a leader in the anti-fraud community, noted as a specialist in the prevention, detection and deterrence of fraud. CFEs represent the highest standards held by the ACFE.
How do I know if I am eligible to become a CFE?
Qualifications for becoming a CFE include having high moral character and meeting minimum professional and academic requirements. Your eligibility for certification is based on a point system which awards credit for education, professional credentials and fraud-related experience.
Read more about the qualifications.
I already hold other certifications. Does this qualify me as a CFE as well?
No. The CFE credential is a unique designation with its own requirements and standards. Your other certifications may be counted as part of the qualifying points system, but they will not automatically make you a CFE.
I have been in the anti-fraud industry for many years; can I receive a waiver of the CFE Exam?
No, all applicants are required to take the CFE Exam. Previous experience or previous certifications will not exempt you from taking any part of the exam.
Who sets the standards for CFE certification?
The standards are set by the ACFE's
Board of Regents , who are elected by CFEs and drawn from our most experienced members.
Is the CFE credential acknowledged globally?
Yes, the CFE credential is recognized and accepted worldwide as the standard of professional excellence.
Do other entities offer the CFE certification?
No. The CFE certification is a unique aspect of the ACFE.
Which seminars or video courses should I take in order to prepare for the CFE Exam?
If you are pursuing the CFE credential, the
CFE Exam Review Course will help you master the concepts tested on the CFE Exam: Financial Transactions and Fraud Schemes, Fraud Prevention and Deterrence, Investigation and Law. This 4-day, instructor-led course provides the essentials needed to pass the CFE Exam and become a CFE. This course, in combination with the CFE Exam Prep Course®, will provide you with an unbeatable combination for passing the exam.
What are some other ways I can prepare for the CFE Exam?
It is important that you take the time to prepare for the CFE Exam. There are many different ways you can prepare, but the following are the most common:
Study on your own using the
Fraud Examiners Manual . The CFE Exam's questions are derived from material contained in the Fraud Examiners Manual.
Study with the
CFE Exam Prep Course , available in U.S. and International editions. The CFE Exam Prep Course provides the most effective preparation tool for the CFE Exam, allowing you to study on your own time at your own pace. Featuring study questions and practice exams that simulate the actual CFE Exam experience, the CFE Exam Prep Course has been designed to prepare you to pass the rigorous CFE Exam.
CFE Exam Review Course . This 4-day, instructor-led course provides the essentials needed to pass the CFE Exam and become a CFE. This course, in combination with the CFE Exam Prep Course software, will provide you with an unbeatable combination for passing the exam.
Read more details about the CFE Exam.
CFE Exam Prep Course
Why is the CFE Exam Prep Course recommended?
Designed with the busy anti-fraud professional in mind, the CFE Exam Prep Course® gives you the flexibility you need to prepare for the CFE Exam on your schedule. Including study questions and practice tests that simulate the actual CFE Exam experience, the CFE Exam Prep Course will help you prepare to pass the rigorous CFE Exam. We are so confident of the CFE Exam Prep Course's ability to prepare you for the CFE Exam that the ACFE guarantees you will pass on your first attempt or we will refund your money or let you retake sections of the CFE Exam at no charge through our
Money-Back Pass Guarantee .
Do I need to take the CFE Exam Prep Course?
The CFE Exam Prep Course is recommended to all exam applicants as the most comprehensive way to review for the exam; however, the course is not required.
How does the CFE Exam Prep Course work?
The CFE Exam Prep Course focuses on four testing areas significant to the CFE Exam: Financial Transactions and Fraud Schemes, Fraud Prevention and Deterrence, Investigation and Law. The Prep Course includes 1,500 study questions. After answering a question, you will be informed of the correct answer, receive a brief explanation about the answer and a reference for additional study if needed. The course also includes practice exams that simulate the CFE Exam environment. After completing the study questions, and scoring 85 percent or higher on each of the practice exams, you should be ready to pass the CFE Exam.
How much does the CFE Exam Prep Course cost?
The full price of the CFE Exam Prep Course is $945 (shipping and handling charges will be added with the purchase of the CD-ROM version). Associate members receive a discounted member price of $745 (plus shipping and handling with the CD-ROM version). ACFE Members have the option to participate in a Member's Only Installment Plan with three monthly payments of $260 each (Payment by credit card only. Payment includes administration fee. Shipping is not included and will be added to your first payment).
For more information, call Member Services at (800) 245-3321 or (512) 478-9000. You are not eligible to be certified until your balance is paid in full. Please allow an additional 3-5 days for processing your first payment. The download or online version of the CFE Exam Prep Course will be available as soon as your first payment is processed. If you are ordering a CD-ROM, please allow an additional two business days before your order ships. Texas residents pay additional sales tax.
Find additional information regarding the CFE Exam Prep Course, including versions and formats.
What is included in the CFE Exam Prep Toolkit?
The toolkit includes the CFE Exam Prep Course, the Fraud Examiners Manual (printed), and CFE Exam Prep Flashcards for $895, plus shipping and handling.
What is the ACFE's Money-Back Pass Guarantee?
Money-Back Pass Guarantee assures that any applicant who prepares for the CFE Exam with the CFE Exam Prep Course and fails the exam will be offered either free retakes of the exam or a refund of the cost of the CFE Exam Prep Course. In order to qualify for the Money-Back Pass Guarantee, you must meet the following conditions:
You must complete the CFE Exam Prep Course within one year from purchase date.
You must take the CFE Exam within 90 days of completing the CFE Exam Prep Course. Your completion date is recorded automatically the day of the last completed section.
You must correctly answer all questions in the CFE Exam Prep Course database at least once. If you incorrectly answer a question, it will return to the question pool, and you will be asked the question again at a future time.
You must score at least 85 percent on the practice exam for each section.
If you request your Exam Activation Key before completing the CFE Exam Prep Course, you waive your Money Back Pass Guarantee.
If I have been studying an old version of the CFE Exam Prep Course and just recently registered to take the exam, will the test correspond with my study materials?
Not necessarily. Exam editions and versions are administered for a period of two years from the initial release, not your purchase date. The version of the CFE Exam you will be provided is based on your ACFE purchase history. If your study materials or exam are expired, you will be provided the most current version of the CFE Exam. Please contact an ACFE Member Services Representative at
MemberServices@ACFE.com for details.
Can I purchase a printed version of the CFE Exam Prep Course?
No. The CFE Exam Prep Course is only offered in CD-ROM or electronic download formats, or online.
Can I share or sell my CFE Exam Prep Course?
No. The CFE Exam Prep Course is licensed to only one user. It may not be shared with anyone. Other terms and conditions apply as outlined in the
End User License Agreement (EULA) .
Can I use the CFE Exam Prep Course on more than one computer?
If you choose the online version of the CFE Exam Prep Course you may use it on multiple computers. The program software will save your progress.
If you choose the download or CD-ROM version, you may load the CFE Exam Prep Course on two computers. Your "Current Status" will reflect all of your work done on multiple computers if you follow these directions:
Choose Export Progress File from the side menu.
Save a copy to your hard drive. Email a copy to yourself, or save a copy to flash drive.
Install the Prep Course on the second computer using your license key.
On the second computer choose "Import Progress File."
Choose the saved file from the flash drive or your email.
Repeat this process every time you switch computers.
Please note, the CFE Exam Prep Course is only licensed to one user and may not be shared.
Once I have completed my CFE Exam Prep Course, what do I do next?
Make sure that you have submitted your three Candidate Recommendation Forms, proof of education and experience, and are an Associate member of the ACFE. When you have completed your CFE Exam Prep Course, select "Request Exam Activation Key" within the course. You will receive the Exam Activation Key by email, and you will be able to access the CFE Exam within 3-5 business days.
Do I have to buy the Prep Course and the Prep Toolkit?
No. The CFE Exam Prep Toolkit includes the CFE Exam Prep Course as well as the printed Fraud Examiners Manual and the CFE Exam Prep Flashcards.
If I decide not to study with the CFE Exam Prep Course, what are my other study options?
You can study on your own using the Fraud Examiners Manual. The CFE Exam's questions are derived from material contained in the Fraud Examiners Manual.
Do I receive continuing education credit for completing the Prep Course or CFE Exam?
After successful completion of the CFE Exam Prep Course, you are eligible to receive a certificate for 35 CPE credits. Successful completion of the CFE Exam Prep Course means that you have answered all review questions correctly and you have scored an 85 percent or higher on each of the four practice exams.
There is no CPE credit offered for passing the CFE Exam.
I purchased the CFE Exam Prep Toolkit; what is the recommended way to study using the different learning tools included?
The CFE Exam Prep Toolkit includes the following: one CFE Exam Prep Course, the Fraud Examiners Manual (printed version) and CFE Exam Prep Flashcards.
The CFE Exam Prep Course is a computer self-study course that prepares you for the CFE Exam while letting you study at your own pace. Everything is divided into four sections: Financial Transactions and Fraud Schemes, Fraud Prevention and Deterrence, Investigation and Law. To successfully prepare with this course, we suggest you begin by taking the Pre-Assessment to test your knowledge in the four fields. After successfully completing the Pre-Assessment, begin the Review Sessions with what the Pre-Assessment determined was your strongest subject. Practice exams are designed similar to the CFE Exam, so that you are answering questions within the allotted time.
The Fraud Examiners Manual is a 2,000-page guide that is divided into the four sections of the CFE Exam: Financial Transactions and Fraud Schemes, Fraud Prevention and Deterrence, Investigation and Law. It is included in this toolkit electronically and in a printed version. This manual will help you answer the review session questions and the four practice exams within the CFE Exam Prep Course.
The CFE Exam Prep Flashcards are designed to be used in tandem with the CFE Exam Prep Course. This set of 900 cards will help you become familiar with the terminology and concepts that will be covered on the CFE Exam.
Which version of the CFE Exam Prep Course should I purchase (U.S. or International), and what is the difference?
The main differences between the U.S. and International versions of the CFE Exam Prep Course lie within the Law section. The U.S. version will only cover U.S. laws, and the International version will cover laws that are common outside the U.S. without addressing country-specific laws. You should purchase the version that includes the laws that you are more familiar with or the ones that you will be working with the most. No matter which version you choose, once you become a CFE, the credential will be valid globally.
CFE Exam Application Process
How much does the CFE Exam cost?
The cost to take the CFE Exam is $400. If you purchased the CFE Exam Prep Course, a $100 credit on the cost of the CFE Exam fee will be applied, reducing the CFE Exam fee to $300.
How can I obtain a CFE Exam application?
It is recommended to complete the online CFE Exam application
or you may
download the CFE Exam application as a PDF
and submit it by email or mail to the address listed on the form. In addition, you may request an application by contacting an ACFE Member Services Representative at (800) 245-3321 or
When should I turn in my CFE Exam application?
We recommend your CFE Exam application and supporting documentation be submitted at least 30 days before you are ready to take the CFE Exam. You may submit your application and payment
online and access the
Certification Portal to upload the supporting documentation and complete the CFE Exam application process.
How long is my CFE Exam application valid?
We will keep your application on file for two years. If after two years you have not completed the CFE Exam, your application will be canceled and a new application, application fee and supporting documentation must be submitted.
Why are candidate recommendation forms required with the application?
In order to maintain the high standards held by the ACFE and ensure the integrity of the CFE Credential, it is important to ensure all candidates are of good moral character and a strong addition to the anti-fraud profession. Select three individuals who have worked with you professionally (i.e. past or current co-workers or supervisors).
How long are my candidate recommendation forms valid?
Candidate recommendation forms are good for three years from the date signed. Should your forms expire before certification, you will be contacted to provide current recommendations.
Does the person completing the candidate recommendation form need to be a CFE themselves?
No, the individuals signing the recommendation forms do not have to be CFEs. The main requirement is that these people have worked closely with you in a professional environment.
Can I submit a recommendation letter instead of the
Professional Recommendation Form?
We prefer applicants provide three professional
recommendation forms by either uploading a scanned recommendation form or
submitting the online recommendation form provided in the Certification Portal.
However, we will accept a recommendation letter provided the letter is
completed by an individual who has worked with the candidate in a professional
manner, attests to the candidate’s integrity, character and professional skills
and recommends the candidate to earn the CFE Credential. In addition,
recommendation letters must include a date, the recommender’s signature and
I submitted my CFE Exam application online. When can I take the CFE Exam?
You will be eligible to take the CFE Exam upon receipt and processing of your three candidate recommendation forms, details of your work experience, current photograph and documentation of education. Generally this process takes 3-5 business days. You will receive an email from the Certification Department once your application has been completed.
What do you mean when you ask about "fraud-related experience"?
Fraud-related experience means that you have worked full-time in a position that contributes to the prevention, detection or deterrence of fraud. Fields related to fraud include: accounting, auditing, criminology, sociology, investigation techniques, loss prevention and law. If you are unsure if your experience qualifies, please submit a brief summary with your application for review.
Read a detailed explanation of the necessary qualifications.
How do I know if my work experience will qualify for the required two years of fraud-related work experience needed to become certified after passing the CFE Exam?
If your experience is in the fraud-related categories outlined on the
CFE Qualifications page, below the Professional Requirements Section, then you can count it towards your professional experience to earning the CFE credential. If your experience does not easily fall within one of those categories, but your responsibilities include the detection, investigation or deterrence of fraud, your experience may qualify as indirectly fraud-related. If you feel that you cannot determine if your experience is directly or indirectly related to fraud, then you can submit your résumé to
MemberServices@ACFE.com for review before applying to take the CFE Exam. One of our representatives will let you know if you will more than likely qualify or not, but keep in mind that the ACFE Board of Regents will have the final say once you have applied and taken the CFE Exam.
I want to attain the CFE certification, but I don't have two years of experience. Can I still take the exam?
Yes. You can study for and take the CFE Exam even if you do not have two years of fraud-related experience as long as you reach the 40 point minimum on Section 2 of the exam application. However, please note that you will not become officially certified until you do have at least two years of practical experience either directly or indirectly related to fraud.
Read more about the details .
Do I need to schedule a time or travel somewhere to take the CFE Exam?
No. The CFE Exam is administered via your own computer. You may take the CFE Exam any time during the year. When you have submitted your complete CFE Exam application and are prepared to take the CFE Exam you may request an exam key.
If I attend ACFE conferences or seminars, do I get additional points towards becoming a CFE?
No. ACFE conferences, seminars and self-study courses will provide you with Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits, but they will not affect the exam point system of becoming a CFE.
I'm in a rush to take the CFE Exam or receive my exam results. Can this process be expedited?
We always process CFE Exam applications, supporting documents, affidavit forms and exam key requests in the order they are received. In order to be fair to all of our members, we cannot expedite any of these procedures.
The CFE Exam
Once I have completed my preparations for the CFE Exam, what do I do next?
Make sure that you have submitted your CFE Exam application, three candidate recommendation forms, proof of education and experience, and are an Associate member of the ACFE.
If you have studied using the CFE Exam Prep Course, select Request Exam Activation Key from within the CFE Exam Prep Course. We will send you the exam activation key to unlock the exam that was included in the Prep Course. It will take 3-5 business days for us to verify your completion of the CFE Exam Prep Course and send you the exam activation key by email.
If you studied on your own using the Fraud Examiners Manual, you will receive the CFE Exam once your CFE Exam application is approved. Upon receipt of the CFE Exam you must install and activate the software using the license key to ensure it loads properly on your computer. When you are ready to take the exam, open your CFE Exam and select Request Exam Activation Key within the course. You will receive the exam activation key by email within 3-5 business days.
If I submitted my key request before my application, when can I take the CFE Exam?
You will be eligible to take the CFE Exam once your application and supporting documentation have been received and processed. Generally, you will receive your exam activation key within 3-5 business days from processing.
Approximately how long should the CFE Exam take to complete?
The CFE Exam consists of 500 questions divided into four sections: Fraud Prevention and Deterrence, Financial Transactions and Fraud Schemes, Investigation and Law. Each question has a time limit of 75 seconds, and each section contains 125 questions (approximately 2.6 hours for completion). Although the total exam time is approximately 10 hours, applicants have 30 days from initiation of the exam program to finish. Applicants may take each section of the exam at their own convenience, as long as all sections are completed by the end of the 30 days.
How will I know if I pass or fail the exam?
You will need to submit your completed exam to the ACFE for review. To submit your exam you will select the Submit CFE Exam button that is available once you have completed all exam sections. Results are not immediate; please allow 3-5 business days for review and processing. Your results will be provided to you by email.
Certification Portal to submit your
CFE Exam Affidavit verifying your completion of the exam without assistance. Please note, we do not provide scores to the exam; you will be notified with a pass or fail communication.
If I have to retake an exam section, what is the cost?
CFE Exam Prep Course students who have qualified for the Money-Back Pass Guarantee will not have to pay to retake failed sections. All other exam applicants may retake the CFE Exam for $25 per section. All four sections must be passed within three consecutive sittings. For example, if you fail two sections and pass two sections on your first attempt, you have two more attempts to pass the failed sections. You will not have to retake the two passed sections. If you have not passed all four sections by your third attempt, you will be required to retake ALL sections of the exam whether a section or sections were initially passed or not. Most individuals pass the CFE Exam in three attempts or less. You will submit a CFE Exam affidavit for each submission of the CFE Exam.
When will I receive my CFE certificate once I have passed the CFE Exam?
Your entire application, including your successful passing of the exam and CFE Exam Affidavit(s), will be submitted to the Certification Committee of the ACFE. You will receive notification of your certification status within 5-7 business days of passing the CFE Exam. Upon approval, your CFE certificate will be mailed to you within 4-6 weeks of certification. You will be contacted if additional information is needed.
Am I exempt from certain sections of the CFE Exam based on my experience?
No. Each CFE candidate must take and pass all four sections of the CFE Exam.
Can I prepare for the CFE Exam one section at a time and then take that section of the CFE Exam?
No, that is not recommended because once you have activated the exam key to take your exam, you must complete and submit all four sections of the CFE Exam within 30 days. Therefore, we recommend that you review for all four sections of the CFE Exam before you decide to start it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Products & Events