Charles Andrews
Charles Andrews

Get to know Charles E. Andrews, Director of Security for the TeleCheck business at First Data, a payment processing company that provides merchant transaction processing services: credit, debit, private-label, gift, payroll and other prepaid card offerings; fraud protection and authentication solutions; electronic check acceptance services through TeleCheck; as well as Internet commerce and mobile payment solutions.


How did your career in security begin?

I began my career early in life at the age of 13, as a Law Enforcement Police Explorer. Exploring is a division of the Boy Scouts of America that offers a vertical in career awareness. It is one of the oldest and most successful programs the Exploring Division of BSA has offered over many years. This gave me unique insight into the world of law enforcement, its role in society and the problems plaguing society as a whole. Over the course of the next six years, I logged 4,000 hours on patrol, donning a uniform and riding “shotgun” in a patrol car with line-function law enforcement personnel. From shootings to murders, to rescues and fleet accidents, to crime prevention and armed robbery calls – I saw it all.

When I turned 19 the summer after graduating from high school, I completed the police academy in Texas and graduated second in my class. I credit my Police Explorer training for my field education. 

From there, I completed a very successful career in law enforcement in Colorado and Texas, retiring as the Director of Crime Prevention. Working in crime prevention opened my eyes to the opportunities in the security profession. I joined ASIS and obtained my CPP certification, and as my position allowed, I was able to do off-duty work for corporations in security. 

When I retired as Director of Crime Prevention, I took a Chief of Police role back in Texas, but I wanted to hone my business acumen, so I went to work for the world’s largest chemical company for more business education. Six years later, I became the CSO for a $60 million company, which eventually led me to First Data to become the Director of Security for TeleCheck.


Why did you decide upon this profession?

I knew what I wanted to do in life and I started very early in the law enforcement profession. Law enforcement made sense to me as a young man, as I could contribute to society with immediate impact. The desire to make a difference was instilled in me early, and that has not changed. Cleaning up a mess after-the-fact made no sense to me, given my upbringing. My dad would say, “Measure twice, cut once,” and I have followed that motto in everything I do. As a result, early on in law enforcement, it made no sense to me whatsoever to be expost facto in our mission. I’ve always been a strong proponent that crime prevention should be the core focus of law enforcement and my law enforcement career reflects that. I was promoted early to the role of Director of Crime Prevention and maintained that title up to my early retirement. Little did I know, but that was the catalyst for my entry into the security profession. What I was really doing in crime prevention was mitigating risk for the community at large. As I worked more closely with the business community, I better understood their risk and to that end, supported prevention of exposures where law enforcement could best contribute in terms of prevention. 


What do you like about your position?

I like that I’m making a significant difference in identifying fraudsters across the country and using my business acumen to make decisions about that activity in a way that’s unique in the security business. I’m aligned in a business vertical within Risk and as a result, I work closely with our analysts to help identify and prevent fraud at the point of sale. Being preventive is good for the company, our merchants and financial institutions and customers as a whole. I enjoy being engaged with the business itself and working with every law enforcement agency and security director for our 350,000 merchants and financial institutions we serve.


Whom in your organization do you respect and take time to interact with and why?

My direct supervisor, the VP of Risk, Randy Ly.! When it comes to risk by the numbers, Randy knows this business like nobody else in industry, and for that, he has my respect!


What keeps you up at night?

Nothing. Long days and nights make for restful sleep. My duties as the ASIS International Houston Chapter Chairman for Houston keep me busy. We’re the fourth largest security professional chapter in the world, and it takes a lot of work and dedication, so I get a little less sleep!



What do you like to do in your free time?

Hunting at 9,720 foot elevation in the middle of God’s country – the Colorado Rocky Mountains – in a blizzard at 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

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This article was originally published in the print magazine as "The Fraud Catcher."