Open-Source Intelligence for Fraud Examiners (Online Self-Study)

CPE Credit: 3 
Course Level: Overview
Prerequisite: None


The Internet is a powerful and practically endless source of information, and fraud examiners should be utilizing it as a resource in every investigation. The availability of public, or open-source, information on the Internet can greatly enhance fraud examiners’ investigations at all stages of the fraud examination process without requiring consent from investigation subjects or court orders.

In this course, you will learn how to better utilize the Internet as an investigative tool through the use of open-source intelligence techniques and a five-step method designed to make online research more effective and efficient.

Key Takeaways:

  • Issues associated with online investigation, including legal liabilities
  • Ways to protect yourself and your employer from cybersecurity risks and identification by suspects
  • Methods for the proper collection and preservation of online evidence  

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CPE Information:

You Will Learn How To:

  • Identify useful and important sources of online information
  • Recognize important considerations for conducting online investigations
  • Determine how to incorporate information found through open sources into an investigation
  • Identify successful strategies for finding open-source information online





Table of Contents:

Part I: Before Starting
  • Lesson 1: Introduction to OSINT
  • Lesson 2: Key Factors
  • Lesson 3: Put the Information to Use
  • Lesson 4: Tools and Resources

Part II: A Five-Step OSINT Methodology
  • Lesson 5: Step 1 Build the Subject’s Profile
  • Lesson 6: Step 2 Internet Search Engines
  • Lesson 7: Step 3 Search Social Media
  • Lesson 8: Step 4 Identify Leads
  • Lesson 9: Step 5 Follow the Leads

Part III: Other Sources of Information
  • Lesson 10: Public Records
  • Lesson 11: News
  • Lesson 12: Maps and Images
  • Lesson 13: Online Marketplaces
  • Lesson 14: Whois Information

ACFE Online Self-Study Courses Feature:

24/7 access to courses through your Internet browser

Save time and quickly earn CPE credits with instant access, grading and printable certificate

The flexibility to start or stop a course and pick-up right where you left off

No additional shipping fees

Learn more about accessing your online self-study course.

Learn more about about online self-study courses and their features.

System Requirements:

Internet access: High-speed connection recommended

Free Adobe Flash Player

Speakers required for video sound

Online Self-Study Troubleshooting Guide:

Problem: When I attempt to access my courses from “My Online Learning,” the course never launches, or I receive an error message saying my pop-up blocker needs to be turned off.

Solution: Your web browser must be configured to allow pop-ups in order to access ACFE Self-Study courses. Your browser may prompt you to allow pop-ups, or you may have to allow them manually. You may either allow them for all sites, or allow them just for the current site.

For information on how to manage your pop-up blocker settings in a specific browser, click the link below that corresponds to the browser you are using:

Internet Explorer
Google Chrome

Also note that many toolbars, such as the Google Toolbar and Yahoo! include pop-up blockers as well. If you have one or more toolbars installed on your browser with built-in pop-up blockers, you must configure them to allow pop-ups.

Problem: When I click on a course from “My Online Learning,” I am presented with a login page, but my username and password won't allow me to log in.

Solution: You do not have to log in a second time to access your online self-study. You most likely reached the login page because you clicked the link labeled “Click Here” as shown below:

Online SS Image Absorb Error

Do not click that link; instead, allow your browser to automatically open the eLearning window on its own, which should happen after a few seconds. This will log you in automatically so that you can access your online courses.

Problem: I receive the following error when I try to load a different lesson with a course:

SS Online API Error

Solution: This occurs in Internet Explorer when trying to load a different lesson without closing the current lesson. This error can be avoided two different ways:

Always close the current lesson before going to another one. Always click the Close Window button (usually the red “X” in the upper right corner) of the current lesson before clicking on another lesson.

Use a different browser. This error seems to only occur in Internet Explorer, so using Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome should resolve the issue (see below for links to download either of these browsers).

Other Troubleshooting Tips: If you encounter other errors, such as courses freezing or crashing, we recommend taking the following action:

Try a different browser. ACFE online self-study courses are designed to run on all modern web browsers, but if you encounter a problem that is not solved using one of the suggestions above, you can try using a different web browser to see if it eliminates the problem. We have most frequently seen where using Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome has resolved an issue that was seen in Internet Explorer.

Mozilla Firefox can be downloaded here
Google Chrome can be downloaded here

Make sure you are running the latest version of Flash. Go to to see what version of Flash you are running, and then compare that to the table on that page to see what the latest version is for your operating system/browser combination. If you are not running the newest version, you should upgrade and see if that resolves the problem.