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To Catch a Thief: How Honest Business People Can Protect Themselves

To Catch a Thief: How Honest Business People Can Protect Themselves

MARCH 24, 2015

Honest and ethical people tend to assume others will act honestly. Unfortunately crooks, cheats and fraudsters often rely on that assumption in crafting techniques and schemes to commit crimes against companies.

In order to catch, or better, to prevent, a crook from succeeding, you may need to rely on advice and the experience of professionals who have dealt with “bad guys” on a regular basis. I’ve seen many a risk matrix which would catch or prevent an honest person from succeeding with a fraudulent scheme. But the real challenge is preventing a dishonest person from succeeding. You see the problem. It is like trying to cross-examine a witness who has no compunction about lying. The witness can wiggle out of almost any trap simply by making up new “facts.”

The only solution I have seen is to get help from people who have experience working with crooks, cheats and fraudsters of all types. Usually, that means someone with law enforcement experience. But it is not only those with law enforcement experience who have a facility for dealing with fraudsters. There are others who have not had that experience, but have dealt with wrongdoers enough to be able to get out of their own mold and into the mind of the bad guy. It is a matter of experience.
So when you review a risk plan or other device being used to analyze or prevent wrongdoing, be sure that someone involved in the process knows how not to be honest.

I would not suggest using the practice popular in the cyber world – that is, retaining a hacker or other cyber crook. It may work for cyber investigations, but the last person you want to educate about your company and its protective devices and plans is a credentialed fraudster.

About the author


Bart M. Schwartz is the chairman of Guidepost Solutions LLC, a global leader in investigations, due diligence, security and technology consulting, immigration and cross-border consulting, and monitoring and compliance solutions. Bart can be reached at


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