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Interviewing Techniques for Fraud

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1 Interviewing Techniques for Fraud
NSAA IT Conference October 9, 2008 Presenter: Jonathan Trull

2 Learning Objectives Why interview for fraud?
Communication – How does it work? Understand 3 types of fraud interviews Mechanics of fraud-based interviews Detecting deception, half truths, omissions, and inconsistencies

3 State Employee Accused of Stealing $11 million

4 Why Interview for Fraud?
People actually admit they’ve committed fraud, abuse, or other illegal acts when confronted. People who have knowledge of wrongdoing but aren’t involved in fraud often won’t come forth with information unless asked. Quickly identifies control weaknesses. Standards.

5 Auditing Standards Yellow Book FISCAM (Exposure Draft) SAS 99

6 Government Auditing Standards
…”auditors should plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatements, whether caused by errors or fraud.” (4.27)

7 Government Auditing Standards
“In planning the audit, auditors should assess risks of fraud occurring that is significant within the context of the audit objectives. Audit team members should discuss among the team fraud risks….Auditors should gather and assess information to identify risks of fraud…” (7.30)

8 FISCAM (Exposure Draft)
Incorporates Government Auditing Standards relevant to financial and performance audits. Assess risks of fraud significant to audit objectives. References SAS 99.

9 FISCAM (Exposure Draft)
If work is performed as part of broader financial or performance audit, the auditor should coordinate with other audit teams. Communicate fraud risks associated with IT to overall fraud team. Hold brainstorming session. Design procedures to provide reasonable assurance of detecting fraud, if risks are significant.

10 FISCAM (Exposure Draft)
Specifically highlights ERP systems and the need to design procedures to identify system-based overrides. Overall, auditor is responsible for being aware of vulnerabilities to fraud associated with the area being audited to identify indications that fraud may have occurred.

11 SAS 99 SAS 99 wants us to ask MORE questions of management PLUS a bunch of additional questions of others (governance committee, internal audit, and other staff) Sometimes people with knowledge of actual or potential fraud are just waiting to be asked…

12 SAS 99 The auditor's inquiries of management and others within the entity are important because fraud often is uncovered through information received in response to inquiries. One reason for this is that such inquiries may provide individuals with an opportunity to convey information to the auditor that otherwise might not be communicated.

13 SAS 99 Making inquiries of others within the entity, in addition to management, may be useful in providing the auditor with a perspective that is different from that of individuals involved in the financial reporting process. The responses to these other inquiries might serve to corroborate responses received from management, or alternatively, might provide information regarding the possibility of management override of controls—

14 What is Communication? The process of effectively sending and receiving information, thought, or feeling. Whether verbal or nonverbal communication, it is essential that we analyze communication (1) within context, and (2) as a pattern.

15 Modes of Communication
Five methods/modes of communication: (1) Nonverbal (4) Speaking (2) Reading (5) Listening (3) Writing

16 Elements of Conversation
Expression Persuasion Therapy Ritual Information Exchange Remember – An interview is just a structured conversation.

17 Facilitators of Communication
Fulfilling Expectations Recognition Altruistic Appeals Sympathetic Understanding New Experience Catharsis Need for Meaning Extrinsic Rewards

18 Inhibitors of Communication
Competing Demand Demands for Time Ego Threat Repression Disapproval Loss of Status Etiquette Trauma Forgetting Chronological Confusion Inferential Confusion Unconscious Behavior

19 Establish Baseline It is critical that we establish a baseline or calibrate the subject of the interview. How do we calibrate a subject? Attempt to relax the subject Establish rapport early

20 Nonverbal Communication
Over half of our communication is made up of nonverbal communication or body language, that tone makes up about one-third of our communication, and that less than twenty percent of communication is made up of the words we use.

21 Nonverbal The Head The Face Tilted to one side indicates listening
Chin dropped to chest indicates acceptance of guilt or depression The Face Turns pale Becomes flushed, red, or splochy Onset of tics

22 Nonverbal The Nose The Mouth The Eyes Touching nose indicates stress
Yawning continuously Yawning to stall or fake boredom Placing pens and other objects in mouth The Eyes Shifting eye behavior

23 Nonverbal The Eyes The Arms and Shoulders Blink rapidly
Look away during certain responses Stare intently during certain responses The Arms and Shoulders Arms crossed and hands clenched Shrugging shoulders to questions

24 Nonverbal The Hands The Legs Finger tapping or drumming
Playing with jewelry Checking watches Wringing hands The Legs Crossing/uncrossing legs Bouncing legs

25 Nonverbal The Feet Posture Lightly tapping feet Stomping feet
Lean body away from interviewer Lean body toward door or exit

26 Nonverbal Clusters Nonverbal signals come in clusters.
No signal by itself tells you anything. Consider all signals as part of a pattern. Examples: Subject sits behind a desk or table and leans toward the door, quivering chin and crossed arms with clenched fists, deep sigh and slumping shoulders, crossing hand behind head and yawning

27 Observing Interview Reactions
Proxemics Chronemics Kinetics Paralinguistics

28 Tone Tone is the inflection or sound we give our works to express a mood or emotion. How are you? “Fine.” “Fine” can convey a wide range of meanings, including sarcasm, gratitude, or irritation.

29 Words The words people use and the order in which the words are used is important. We tend to communicate through one of three senses: Sight, Sound, or Touch

30 Communication Analysis
What did the subject say? What did the subject NOT say? Vocabulary, parts of speech, syntax, and structure form the basis for analyzing communication.

31 Vocabulary Each word the subject uses has a different meaning.
A person maintains consistency in his language to express the same thought. Change of language reflects a change in the subject’s perception of the account.

32 Vocabulary Example “Mr. Smith keeps the blank checks and his signature stamp in his desk drawer. He generally keeps the drawer locked. Mr. Smith said I could use his desk to do my work while he was gone. The drawer was open when I sat at the desk on Tuesday and the checks were taken. I called John at home and he told me not to worry about it.”

33 Parts of Speech Nouns – name or identify persons, places, or things.
Verbs – describe an action, occurrence, or state of being. Adverbs – qualifiers that modify other words. Adjectives – words that describe nouns.

34 Syntax The manner or order in which a person chooses to arrange his words in a sentence. Complete sentences consist of a subject, verb, and modifying words that add detail to the events.

35 Syntax Example “Jane and I signed the check.”
“My boss Jane and I signed the check.” “I signed the check and then Jane did.” “The check was signed by Jane, I think, and by me.”

36 Key Words / Phrases Adverbs –
“I usually [but not always] unlock the safe.” “I normally [but not always] reconcile the accounts.” “Basically [but not completely], that’s what happened.” “Mostly [but not always], I get a second signature.”

37 Key Words / Phrases Adverbs –
“I rarely [but not exclusively] speak with him anymore.” “I hardly knew him [but I did know him].”

38 Key Words / Phrases Temporal Lacuna – Later on After Later Next
Afterwards Eventually

39 Adjectives Dishonest subjects often omit adjectives altogether or qualify their remarks – “I think…”

40 Structure A narrative has a beginning, middle, and an end.

41 Main Points What is the general importance of the subject’s statements? Are the references and word choices consistent? Why did the subject choose certain words or phrases? Why is certain information presented first as opposed to last or in the middle of the story?

42 Types of Fraud Interviews
SAS 99 / Fraud Discovery Interviews Fraud-Based Interviews Interrogations

43 SAS 99 / Fraud Discovery Interviews
Who do we interview? Everyone Who performs the interviews? Financial Auditors Performance Auditors IS Auditors

44 SAS 99 / Fraud Discovery Interviews
What questions do we ask? Direct & specific Are you aware of anyone within the organization who has taken computer resources without authorization? Have you ever changed source code without authorization? Hypothetical If someone was going to …..

45 Example Questions When we’re talking about fraud in government, we’re talking about a big area. We’re not talking about taking a pen or making a few photocopies. Rather, we’re talking about a whole range of activities where employees steal from the state, lie to management, or taken unfair advantage. Do you think fraud is a problem for government in general?

46 Example Questions Do you think this state agency has a problem with fraud? If employees or managers are stealing from this agency, why do you think they do it? Frequently, small thefts by employees can add up to a lot of money. If you knew another employee was stealing, what would you do?

47 Example Questions Do you know of anyone who might be stealing or taking advantage of the state? Suppose someone who worked for the agency decided to steal or commit fraud. How could they do it and get away with it? In your opinion, who is beyond suspicion when it comes to committing fraud at this agency?

48 Example Questions Is there any other information you wish to provide regarding any possible fraud within this agency?

49 Making “routine” inquiries about fraud…
Inquire of management about: Knowledge of any fraud or suspected fraud Any allegations about fraud Risks of fraud in the entity Programs and controls that mitigate these risks Monitoring of operating locations and business segments; and any locations or segments that might have higher fraud risk If (and how) management communicates its view on business practices and ethics Any fraud-related reports it has made to the audit committee

50 Making “routine” inquiries about fraud…
Inquire directly to the audit committee about: The committee’s views on fraud risk Any knowledge of fraud or suspected fraud Mitigating controls How the committee exercises oversight in this area

51 Making “routine” inquiries about fraud…
Inquire of internal audit personnel about: Their views about fraud risks Any knowledge of fraud or suspected fraud Any fraud-related work they have done The adequacy of management’s responses to any fraud-related findings

52 Making “routine” inquiries about fraud…
Inquire of other personnel about the existence of fraud or suspicion about fraud: To learn more about or corroborate what others have said about fraud risk To allow individuals an opportunity to convey information that might not otherwise be communicated To obtain perspectives that are different from that of individuals involved in financial reporting To learn more about management’s ability to override controls To determine how effectively management has communicated standards of ethical behavior

53 Fraud-Based Interviews
The auditor has already identified problems and is seeking to clarify their cause and quantify their impact. These interviews presuppose that the subject has important information and may be misleading the questioner or lying.

54 Fraud Examination Process
Sources of Information (tips/complaints, anomalies, SAS 99 interviews) Predication? Develop fraud theory Theory validated? Or Other theories confirmed? Obtain documentary evidence Interview Prepare report

55 Evidence Gathering Order

56 Fraud-Based Interviews
When should these interviews be used: Auditor notes an important exception and cannot rule out wrongdoing as a cause. Wants to follow up a routine discussion of procedures and controls. Gets a tip that possible wrongdoing has occurred.

57 Mechanics of the Interview
Venue Introductory Phase Introduction of Subject Matter and Purpose of Interview Questioning the subject Review of material with subject Closing and relationship building

58 Venue Interviews should be in person Location places subject at ease
Ensures privacy Avoids distractions

59 Introductory Phase Personal Introduction Social Amenities
Open Discussion

60 Introductory Phase Take Charge / Provide the Introduction
Establish Rapport Establish the Interview Theme Observe Reactions Theme Development Methodology Physical Contact (handshake) Establish Purpose of Interview

61 Subject Matter / Purpose
Be cautious when introducing the purpose of the interview. Example: “I am responsible for gathering information regarding the agency’s contract with ABC, Inc. I learned you were on the RFP Selection Committee. Can you help me by answering a few questions?”

62 Questioning the Subject
The interviewer’s role is not to answer questions or provide information. The interviewer should spend a minimal amount of time talking, no more than 15%. Allow the subject the opportunity to answer the questions completely and fully without interruption.

63 Questioning the Subject
The interviewer should allow a few moments of silence each time the subject appears to have stopped talking. The interviewer should confirm with the subject at the end of the interview the information the subject provided. Encourage the subject to speak.

64 Questioning the Subject
Use a line of questioning moving from the least sensitive topics to the most sensitive. Follow-up on answers by using the subject’s own words. Focus on establishing who, what, when, where, and why.

65 Fraud – Question Typology
Introductory Informational Closing Assessment Admission-Seeking

66 Question Types Open or Indirect Closed or Direct Probing or follow-up

67 Open Questions Can’t be answered with yes/no response.
Pros: Useful when you’re not sure of what information you need or if you want to know how someone feels about an issue. Cons: Can take a lot of time and requires more note taking, more difficult to control, and interviewee may not be sure of what you want.

68 Closed Questions Answered restricted to a few choices (yes/no)
Pros: Useful when answers require little or no explanation, saves time, and makes it easy to tabulate results. Cons: Limits information that can be obtained

69 Probing/follow-up Questions
Asking another question to clarify or obtain further information about a interviewee’s response. Pros: Useful when the interviewee provides inadequate answers, stimulates discussion, and can be used to resolve inconsistencies. Cons: Can make interviewee become defensive

70 Questioning the Subject
Confronting the Subject Avoid confrontation until later in the interview Handle and manage confrontation to your advantage - better to focus on clarification I’m confused. You told me that you always got a second signature on checks over $500. However, you told me you signed the check to ABC, Inc. and mailed it. Am I missing something?

71 Questioning the Subject
Go from broad to the specific. Move from the indirect to the direct to elicit information. Allow the subject to speak. The role of the interviewer is to observe, to guide, to steer, to collect, and most importantly, to listen.

72 Review of Interview Material
Confirm with subject that the information provided is accurate. Go critical point by point and get affirmative verbal responses from subject. Make corrections where necessary. Is there any other information relevant to our discussion that we haven’t covered?

73 Closing and Relationship Building
Thank subject for time. If applicable, thank subject for cooperation. May be good to repeat question about any further information not covered.

74 Conducting the Interview
If something is not clear, keep asking Use follow-up questions as needed to clarify issues Drill-down on an issue Don’t let your question go unanswered

75 Active Listening When the listener provides feedback (verbal and/or non-verbal) to the speaker on the extent to which the speaker’s message has been understood and will be retained. Restating in your own words what the person said. Repeating exactly what the person said Reflecting to show you understand how they feel (“You were pretty upset by this…”) Summarizing (“These seem to be the main ideas you stated.”)

76 Active Listening Non-verbal techniques
Maintain appropriate eye contact Occasionally nod and display understanding and interest Pause occasionally to let interviewee know to continue Voice inflections Body Language

77 Interview Don’ts Don’t ask more than one question at a time.
Don’t jump to conclusions Don’t assume you know the response Don’t interrupt or debate with the interviewee Don’t monopolize the conversation (70/30 rule) Don’t think about the next question Don’t read documents Don’t be annoying (finger tapping, clock watching)

78 Building Relationship
To establish a balanced relationship between the interviewee and yourself Your voice should be calm Show interest in what the person is saying Don’t indict the person during the interview

79 Building Relationship
If the subject perceives you as a professional and someone that is honest, they are more likely to be helpful during the interview.

80 Building Relationship
If individual is reluctant: Keep calm, don’t become frustrated Use positive language Use gentle persistence in asking questions If need to, reschedule the interview

81 Note Taking Note taking tips: Don’t tape record the interviews
Take accurate and complete notes, but don’t distract the interviewee Try to avoid taking notes when the interviewee is talking about a sensitive subject Begin each interview on a clean page.

82 Note Taking Identify the date, time, and place of the interview and all individuals present during the interview. Obtain biographical data for the subject, including telephone numbers, position, title, etc. Initial and date the notes.

83 Note Taking Document the interviewer’s questions.
Take verbatim notes if possible, Concentrate on subject’s responses to: Nouns Pronouns Verb Tense Qualifiers Indicators of responsibility, innocence, or guilt

84 Note Taking Do not document conclusions or interpretations.
Report any unusual changes in body language. Turn notes into typewritten report IMMEDIATELY!

85 Habits of Successful Fraud Interviewers
Takes minimal notes Does not interrupt the interviewee Asks open-ended questions Follows a logical – usually chronological – question sequence

86 Advanced Interviewing Skills
More experienced auditors, not new staff, should do these interviews Be prepared, but don’t follow a checklist Put the subject at ease Be conversational Make good eye contact Get the subject talking…let subject talk

87 Interview versus Interrogation
Purpose: gather info. Nonaccusatory Free-flowing Interviewer speaks 5% Stay within social zone Note taking O.K. No Miranda warning required 30-60 minutes Interrogation Purpose: get a confession Accusatory Structured Interrogator speaks 95% Start at personal zone, move to intimate zone No notes (until after confession) No time limit

88 References Interviewing and Interrogation, by Don Rabon
Beyond the Numbers: Professional Interviewing Techniques, by ACFE Finding the Truth, by Erwin Sulak

89 That’s All Folks!

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