The Ostrich Effect and due diligence investigations

African ostrich hiding its head in the sand

As an investigator and an information nerd, I was intrigued by a podcast from the NPR Hidden Brain Series about the Ostrich Effect. We’ve all heard about it – burying your head in the sand to avoid learning what we don’t want to know. It seems that this ‘no spoilers’ mentality, as NPR describes it, […]

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Tricks of the trade: Verifying degrees without consent

diploma search

In a recent post, I questioned the methods used by a journalist in exposing a politician’s fraudulent college diploma. I’m all for catching this type of fraud, since one little lie can be a symptom of chronic deceit, but verifying a degree without consent is illegal (except in certain circumstances) and something this private investigator […]

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Catching fraudsters – legally and ethically


If someone falsely claims a college degree, it tells you a lot about that person’s character. It’s also bad for business when the lie is exposed. That’s why, as part of our due diligence process, we regularly verify all credentials in supplied information and disclosure forms. It’s a simple way to catch a fraudster, and […]

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Are prospects for success really as rosy as they seem?

market due diligence

During the investment process, you’re often presented with a business plan or some solid-looking financial projections. Everything looks good on paper, but you wonder – Are the prospects for success really as rosy as they seem? It’s wise to be skeptical in business transactions, and that’s where market due diligence comes in. Sometimes known as […]

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Online due diligence investigations – 5 things you need to know

5 things you need to know for online due diligence

I recently had the opportunity to speak at the OACFE fraud conference about online due diligence background investigations. It’s always great to meet other fraud professionals and share my strategies and sources. In this presentation, I emphasize that one of the best ways to prevent fraud is to avoid going into business with fraudsters. If […]

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Writing reports that get read – and used

Writing reports that get read - and used

“There is a simple way to package information that, under the right circumstances, can make it irresistible. All you have to do is find it.” -Malcolm Gladwell The Tipping Point Last week I had the honor of speaking at the DFW Fraud Conference, hosted by the Dallas Chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. […]

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Digging into workplace misbehavior

Early-stage due diligence for workplace misbehavior

“Plays well with others” Remember your report cards from kindergarten? Early on, we were encouraged and graded on our ability to get along with classmates and teachers. Now that we’re all grown up (in some ways), it seem that we’re still learning. Thanks to recent high-profile alleged improprieties, the spotlight is definitely on how well […]

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Due diligence investigations come in all flavors

Levels of due diligence background investigations

A previous post described the differences between a due diligence background investigation and a basic background check and why you shouldn’t settle for less than what you need. After that post, a colleague made a great comment in a Twitter conversation that should be addressed. Fellow Certified Fraud Examiner Robert Gardner, pointed out that “…there’s […]

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