Update: My CFE journey

My CFE journey

In a previous post, I let everyone know about my plans to pursue the Certified Fraud Examiner credential. After a little over a month, it’s time for an update. To prepare for the exam, I’m using the online CFE Exam Prep Course from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. This course is amazing, and I […]

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The top 3 fraud trends to prepare for in 2016

2016 Fraud Trends

As mentioned in a previous post, I’m working towards my Certified Fraud Examiner credential. In doing so, I’ve immersed myself in all things related to fraud, including podcasts from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. In the latest podcast, John Gill, ACFE VP of Education, talks about the three top fraud trends that he predicts […]

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My next big challenge – Certified Fraud Examiner

Fraud word cloud

It’s been longer than usual between posts, and, unfortunately, it might not get much better for a the next few months. While I don’t usually get too personal here, I’ll fill you in on what’s been going on and what’s on the horizon. Just before Christmas I injured some ribs in one of those crazy […]

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Resources for National Mentoring Month

Mentoring resources

It’s National Mentoring Month, and – as someone who has benefited from my experiences as both a mentor and mentee – I’d like to share some resources I’ve recently found on the topic: From Pursuit Magazine, Flying Lessons: What Pilots Know about Mentorship is geared toward private investigators, but the lessons apply to everyone. 3 […]

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Google Images for due diligence investigations

Use Google Image search in due diligence background investigations

Google Images plays a big part in Phelps Research’s due diligence investigations. A photo of a subject can help confirm an identity and add a face to a name in a report. But sometimes Google’s image search results can lead to much more. On several occasions I’ve found some great non-image content that’s had a […]

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Things this private investigator doesn’t do – Unauthorized degree verifications

Things this PI doesn't do

Since becoming a private investigator, I’ve received numerous requests from potential clients that I eventually file under “Things This PI Doesn’t Do.” The first item on the list  – surveillance – is based on personal preference. I prefer not to hang out in my car for long stretches of time. Other items are more about […]

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Giving thanks for those who share


Well, I’ve survived another family Thanksgiving here at Casa de Phelps. Many years ago, when I married into the family, I had no idea what a fun ride it would be. This crew really knows how to throw a party. Thirteen people and six dogs crowded into our home this year to celebrate, enjoy each […]

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Local news – A searcher’s underused treasure

Local news for due diligence

When you need focus and depth for online research, try local news. Long after the national news packs up and leaves after a hurricane, for example, the local press continues to delve into the storm’s aftermath. For due diligence background investigations this means that, as the hometown heroes (or villains), your subjects’ accomplishments and failures […]

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Comparing Social Security traces

Social Security traces

In a recent post, I discussed Social Security traces, including what they are, how we use them at Phelps Research, and the problems with these reports. This time, I’ll compare the differences between four reports I recently ran for two social security numbers. It’s not uncommon to run a report on your subject’s SSN and […]

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