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INTERVIEWING AS A ‘FORENSIC-TYPE’ PROCEDURE - page 5 / 19

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Finally, effective interviewers must be able to convert--in an accurate and professional way--the relevant content of the interview into a written statement to be signed by the subject. Verbal and Non-Verbal Cues of Deception

Employees engaged in fraudulent activity carry an enormous psychological burden on their shoulders. They worry continuously that one day their activities will be discovered which will dramatically impact their quality of life. When questioned during an interview, such employees are under even more stress wondering if their activities have been discovered. Since they are guilty of fraudulent activity, any questions relating to fraud--even if phrased in a non- accusatory manner--will likely elicit defensive responses and outright lies from subjects. Since lying is unnatural to most people, such subjects are extremely uncomfortable and “stressed-out” during an interview. Good interviewers can recognize both the verbal and nonverbal cues indicating that subjects are under heavy stress and clearly have “something to hide.”

Verbal cues encompass actual statements taken literally and account for about 60% of the communication taking place between the interviewer and the subject (Thornhill, 1995). The Fraud Examiners Manual (1999) published by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners has compiled a list of common verbal cues which are reliable indicators of deception. Some of these verbal cues of deception include:

Changes in speech patterns. Deceptive persons often speed up or slow down their speech, or speak louder. They also tend to cough or clear their throats during times of deception. Selective memory. Deceptive persons tend to have no trouble remembering insignificant events or information relating to non-sensitive issues. However, when the questioning shifts to more sensitive, possibly incriminating issues deceptive persons suddenly “do not recall” or “just can’t seem to remember.” Oaths. Frequently, deceptive persons will attempt to increase the credibility of their lies by using expressions such as “I swear to God,” “Honestly,” or “To tell you the truth.” Refusal to implicate others. Although both honest and deceptive persons are reluctant to implicate others, deceptive persons typically refuse to name others possibly involved in misdeeds, no matter how much pressure is applied by the interviewer.

Interviewing as a ‘Forensic-Type’ Procedure

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