Fraud Detection with Traci Brown
Our body can give clues to what we are thinking or feeling and can reveal what we’re saying is the truth or deception. How can we use that fact to detect when others are being deceptive?
Today’s guest is Traci Brown. Time magazine has named Traci as one of the nation’s top deception detection experts. She’s trained alongside the country’s top law enforcement, and she is a frequent television guest and the author of How to Detect Lies, Fraud, and Identity Theft Field Guide. Her fraud-spotting learning platform has helped companies stop millions in fraud loss.
- [0:51] – Traci shares her background as a cyclist and how observing and learning other cyclists behavior and body language led her to eventually become a body language expert.
- [2:29] – Many had thought that Traci was able to read people’s minds, but really she was just noticing body language.
- [3:34] – Traci shares how an experience of her brother’s led her to training with law enforcement and started her path in fraud and deception detection.
- [5:19] – While a lot of attacks happen online, Traci encourages listeners to know about in-person fraud and protect themselves.
- [6:17] – 40% of people lie in a job interview but only 2% of people hiring them can tell.
- [6:54] – Traci works with a lot of sales people because “buyers are liars.”
- [7:43] – Traci has even worked with world renowned poker players. She describes how poker tournaments work and how body language impacts how you feel as well.
- [9:54] – The number one thing that law enforcement looks at is baseline behavior. Everyone runs in patterns.
- [10:40] – You want to believe the body first and when there’s a mismatch between the body and the words, that’s the hotspot.
- [11:47] – Traci lists and describes body language signs that something is not true.
- [12:55] – As you are talking to someone and notice these signs, Traci suggests saying, “It seems like you have something more to say about that,” and then stop talking.
- [13:58] – If you ask people questions they have no reason to lie about, then you can see the shift when you ask them something more pressing.
- [15:19] – Some people can’t help but lie. Some people lie to cope with something trauma or were conditioned to lie in simple conversations.
- [17:12] – Lying is not just indicated through body language. It is a combination of body language, tone, pacing, volume, and word choice.
- [18:21] – Everyone is unique in that baseline behavior so you need to know that first.
- [19:15] – Some people have a nervous baseline that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re lying but that they are just nervous people in general.
- [20:12] – Traci shares a story about an experience with her husband in the grocery store and how her knowledge of body language can benefit relationships.
- [22:03] – Security takes full enrollment from your senses at all times.
- [23:15] – Traci hosts a podcast called Fraud Busting and interviews criminals.
- [25:01] – Traci refers to presidential debates and how candidates practice their answers ahead of time, but that body language is telling. The answers to questions that are on the spot is where you can tell a lot.
- [26:30] – Watching a debate with the sound off and not knowing what the candidates are saying is a great way to start noticing body language.
- [28:03] – Even Chris can tell when a podcast guest is launching into a response that is rehearsed. He asks Traci if that could be an indicator that someone is being deceptive in certain situations.
- [29:37] – We have the least control over our feet. So watching peoples’ feet can give you a lot of information.
- [30:54] – Traci describes the “pain” people and businesses pay with when they aren’t paying attention.
- [31:52] – Know more than is immediately obvious and use it when the time is right. The idea is to make people comfortable around you enough to talk.
- [33:04] – Traci also can look at social media profiles and can tell a lot about a person before actually meeting them.
- [35:29] – Traci shares that she watched a video of Paris Hilton describing the abuse at a school she went to as a child and determined that she is telling the truth.
- [36:21] – Body language is not admissible in court, so using the body language to dig is important.
- [38:06] – Chris and Traci briefly discuss psychopathic and sociopathic behaviors.
- [40:07] – The reason Traci started her podcast is because looking back, everyone knows something is not right but didn’t do anything about it. Listen to yourself.
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- How to Detect Lies, Fraud, and Identity Theft Field Guide by Traci Brown
Thank you; that’s so kind of you. Can you tell me about how you got to be where you’re at?
How about the medium-long version? I grew up racing bikes. You probably know some of the people I’ve trained with. There’s one guy named Lance and he was really fast. Him and his buddies would show up during training rides and I would jump in. The men race from time to time. I grew up down in Dallas and we’re on the same bike shop team and it was in trying to keep up with him that I learned that he was really fast and I wasn’t.
I learned that cycling is for small people and I’m a big person. I had to use all of my wits that I possibly could to try to outsmart my competition, understand what they were going to do next. I would watch people and I would keep records on each individual person about their habits and because we all run in patterns. We just run patterns all the time. If you can decode that, you can understand what’s going to happen next and what is likely on their mind.
By the time I got really good at that, and that’s the intel that landed me on the US National Team, and I started to do well there and I won some National Championships. When I got done with cycling, I got into hypnosis and neurolinguistics and I started seeing clients. I started to understand them on a different level but it was the same tools that I was using.
I was able to seem like I was reading people’s minds. I wasn’t. I was just reading their body language and understanding what was going on. For a long time, I spoke on persuasion, influence, and body language in the words that you can use to really start to guide and direct someone’s mind. Then something happened.
I was looking for a more profitable way to use my knowledge and I happened to call my brother and he said, “These hackers are at it again. They stole all my info in the government hack that happened.” This was probably four or six years ago now. He goes, “They’re going into payday loan stores impersonating me. They’re taking $300 and then disappearing. All I have to do is sign an affidavit that it’s not me.”
I said, “Wait, people in person are using your info and it’s 100% loss to the company plus admin fees?” He said, “Yeah,” and I went ding, I got it. I didn’t know how much fraud happened in person. I call myself the fraud-busting body language expert and I had all the intel. I just didn’t know how to apply it to a very expensive problem.
I’ve trained with the FBI, the police, and sitting next to green berets and people who probably couldn’t tell me they’re in the CIA to study law enforcement interrogation and deception detection training. I bring that into the business world. Most of what I do is keynote speaking which is a little different now than it was earlier this year. A lot of virtual presentations these days, but I think we’ll be getting back to live events hopefully in the middle-end of the next year—maybe if we’re lucky.
That’s been my progression. It’s just been following the path that isn’t always so obvious and making the most out of it.
I think this is really exciting because you have the offline and analog to what I see a lot of the online, the scammers, fake dating sites, people calling, all these online cyber-attacks. And you’re dealing with all the in-person, all the physical tells versus the wording tells, grammar tells from the spam emails.
It’s true, and to protect yourself you need to know about both. Because most fraud happens, if you talk to people, it’s not big, sexy, mysterious cyber fraud. It is right in front of your eyes, hidden in plain sight, and it comes in all different forms. It could be something small from, you ask someone, “Hey, how are you doing today?” And they go, “Fine, doing fine.” Shaking their head “no,” and you got to believe the body first. It can go all the way from that to, “Hey, do you know what happened to the petty cash? Do you know what happened to that stack of banded hundreds that was in the vault?” Those kinds of things are what I’m able to help decode, but also, there’s a ton of different uses for it. Did you know that 40% of people lie in a job interview or on their resume in a material way?
Oh, that’s scary.
Two percent of HR pros can figure it out. Saying, “Oh man, I don’t have someone in this position”—that’s expensive. Hiring the wrong person is way more expensive and being able to tell who’s lying is important to being able to find the right person. But what else? I work with a lot of salespeople, a lot of salespeople because buyers are liars.
I’ve heard that expression.
If you can start to understand their true motivations, their true objections, then you’re going to be able to work with that instead of being in the dark about what someone’s really thinking and then wondering why they never call you back. There’s a lot of different applications. It’s not all fraud, but it is all deception and it’s fascinating. It is absolutely fascinating.
I have to ask you, because you talk about body language and reading people: are you a world-renowned poker player?
I am not. I can’t tell a spade from a club. I really can’t. But, I have worked with World Series of Poker guys. I have worked with people who gamble up at the casinos in Black Hawk in Central City up here in Colorado and everybody has tells.
The thing about poker is that we turn on the TV and it’s like, “Oh, it’s an hour on Saturday noon on ESPN 8.” What we don’t realize is that it is actually four or five days, straight days of a tournament.
You see the guys and they have their hoodies pulled tied and their sunglasses on. They think that they’re hiding them, but they’re not. You can actually feel what other people are feeling if you match their body language from head to toe. If you do what they do, you will feel what they are feeling and be able to start to decode that. It takes a little bit of practice but yeah, you can do that. I’ve had guys in the tournament who’ve done very, very well.
Well, that’s cool. That’s not something that I think our audience—well actually, that’s probably something our audience would love to figure out how to do. But they can leave that for personal consultation with you if they like. In terms of fraud happening in businesses, petty cash, what are some of the warning signs or the body languages that people should be looking out for that indicate deception, that indicate that someone is lying?
Got it. There’s no one tell that says someone is lying and that’s the rub here.
There’s no like, if they look up to the left that is a lie, and then down to the right, it’s the truth.
Oh my god, that drives me crazy. The first thing when you see those eye pattern charts that are out there and a lot of people have them in NLP books and sales books and things like that. The first thing I tell my clients to do is go to that book, open it up to that page, tear it out, light it up and throw it away. The accuracy of that is really low.
What is important is people’s baseline behavior. You look for a significant shift in baseline behavior. That’s the number one thing our law enforcement looks for. Everyone, like I said, they run in patterns. When that pattern shifts, often, when pressed on a question that’s potentially incriminating, what happens is our mind goes into cognitive overload. It’s doing too many things that it wouldn’t normally do, body language falls off the plate. What’s your mind doing while it’s remembering the story? It’s making up more stories. It’s understanding how you’re being received. Are they buying it or are they not?
You have to add emotions and you have to add time. All these things happen and so body language goes a little bit haywire. Knowing some of those signs is important. You want to believe the body first, take the words with a grain of salt always. When there’s a mismatch between the body language and the words, that’s when you have a hotspot. In general, you want three to five hot spots clustered in the period of a couple of sentences. That’s a pretty good indicator if someone’s pants are on fire. What are some of those? For American people we nod our head.
Yes, and you shake your head and that means no. If you catch someone nodding their head saying, “I would never do that,” you see how it didn’t match? Or shaking their head, “No, you can ask me anything.” Or, Bill Clinton did this to all of us, nodding his head just very gently, “Yes, I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” Right there in front of all of us, and so that’s one. For a direct yes or no question, that can be very, very telling.
It could also show uncertainty if people do a circle, that says uncertainty. That shrug in your shoulders will say uncertainty as well. You don’t believe what’s coming out of your mouth. Other fun ones that are easy to look for are when people’s lips disappear in over their teeth—they suck, just like that. They suck their lips.
I’ve only been doing this 20 years. It’s been my experience that the next thing that comes out of their mouth is somewhere between a half-truth and a lie. What’s important, because it is that you don’t step on those opportunities that you give yourself when you’re asking yourself some questions. You hit on something and they’re holding back emotions. They’re holding back information that you need.
If you keep going in the conversation, you’ve lost it, you’ve lost it forever and you need to stop and just ask people and give them a chance to say something. The way you do that is that you say, “It seems like there’s something else you want to say about that.” And then stop talking. Shut your mouth, because he who talks first in this situation loses.
If you can be comfortable being uncomfortable and making other people a little bit uncomfortable, that’s where you will win. You will be shocked at what they say. A little bit of silence when you see some of these tells can really buy you a lot of information.
Got you, that makes a lot of sense. I want to ask a follow-up question in reference to the shift in baseline behavior. Are you referring to when you say baseline behavior, is that individual’s baseline behavior or to a larger segment of the population? If I know Bob really well, I might be able to pick up on if his body language is off, but if I don’t know Bob, I don’t know that’s necessarily not his normal body language.
That’s a great question, and it doesn’t take very long to get a baseline behavior. This is why small talk is so important, because if you ask people questions that they have no reason to lie about, and this is actually how you pick out identity theft. If you ask them questions they have no reason to lie about, then you can see the shift when you ask them something more pressing.
What are the questions that they wouldn’t lie about? How many kids do you have? What street did you grow up on? Do you have a dog? What’s your dog’s name? Tell me about your wife. Things like that, they usually don’t have any reason to lie about it.
Now, here’s the thing. If you ask these questions and you don’t see a shift in behavior, when you ask questions like, “Hey, what happened to the petty cash in the safe?” Then either they’re lying about everything or they’re telling the truth.
Then you’ve got to figure out which one is which.
Exactly. And so most people, when you ask those kinds of questions unless they’re a sociopath, psychopath, actually on the scale, they will revert back to something that’s truthful because it’s just easier cognitively to do. Just in a regular conversation, people aren’t going to lie a whole lot.
Now, some people can’t help it and they actually can’t tell the difference between truth and a lie. Some people think it’s more socially acceptable to lie—they lie for fun. That’s a habit that they created probably for a survival technique around a stressful situation growing up, a continued stressful situation, so it could be abuse or who knows what, or maybe they modeled someone doing that. There’s a lot of reasons why that happens, but it’s up to us to catch it so that you can protect yourself and really everything that you work for.
Got you. We talked a little bit about in the workplace. You’re the boss and you’ve got someone who you think maybe stole some money from you. But what if you kind of, I don’t want to say flip it, like your boss was approaching you, but you’re just out in public interacting with someone that you haven’t met before. Are there ways or tells that they’re trying to deceive you?
When you don’t have this, “Hey, did you steal the petty cash?” You’re not a police investigator, this is just a random person you’re having a conversation with.
It depends on the gravity of the situation. You want to learn to watch people and raise your sensory acuity. It only takes a couple of questions to get their baseline behavior. Let’s say you’re out to drinks—whenever we can go out to drinks again—with a vendor that you’re looking at doing work with. Can they really do the work that they’re saying? With that, you’ve got to ask some pin-pointed questions and make sure, again, that you’re looking.
Lie detection doesn’t always come just in body language. It’s actually a combination of body language, tone, and words. You want to look for slight shifts in those as well. Pacing, tone, word choice, volume is a huge one. Word error rate is one of the biggest indicators of deception, it can be higher than body language, actually, on accuracy, because here’s what happens. Our mind works at about 1250 words a minute, give or take. Our mouths go at 150 words a minute.
If they’re stuttering and stammering and just not being able to get the words out as fluently and eloquently as someone should be able to in a situation where let’s say, they’re selling a high-dollar product, that’s because they’re going through four or five scenarios in their mind and it doesn’t come out the mouth cleanly. Different shifts like that, because you do it to be careful who you’re doing business with because you can lose a lot of money that way signing up with the wrong person. Those are just some of the tells. Everyone is unique in that baseline. It’s important to watch.
It’s not like the magic trick where they cold-read people. You really actually have to have some rapport, have had some interaction with them enough to figure out what’s “normal” for this person.
Because I can imagine some people, me, I tend to get nervous around people I don’t know. What do they think about me? All those things that go through your head. When you’re talking about picking words or stuttering over words, I go like, Well, gee, I get that way when I get nervous around people.” It’s not that I’m lying or trying to present myself differently, but I wonder if they now think I’m lying because I can’t get my words out?
With this more advanced stuff, people can have a nervous baseline as well. You get to understand why people are nervous versus when their nervous baseline shifts. Do you see how it can get pretty deep? In a casual conversation over drinks, you have to decide how bad you want to know because it can get exhausting just watching people all the time. People ask me all the time, like, “Are you just worn out?” It’s like, “No.” The question is do I care and are they paying me? If they’re paying me then I’ll start to care.
It could be little things like my husband doesn’t like rotisserie chicken at the grocery store. That chicken that you get, you walk by, that smells so good. We remodeled our kitchen a couple of years ago. It was like eight o’clock at night. We went to the store trying to find something to eat. I didn’t have anything. I had a hot plate, a 1980s hot plate is what I had and I looked at him. We’re in the store and I’m like, “Matt, do you just want to get some of this chicken?” He looks at me and he shakes his head “no” and he goes “Yeah.”
I know you just lied to me right there in the grocery store. You know this and you just lied to me. Let’s find something else. We’ve looked on the top of that little setup they have there and they happen to have—I have never seen this before—a turkey breast in the little bag that they had packaged up.
You can make someone’s day better by just understanding a little bit about deception, like right there. A lot of different ways to use it. A lot of different levels of importance in your life, and sometimes it’s really good to know more than what you actually use.
When you let little things go and then you add them up over time and look back, it can become very clear exactly what their intent was, what they’re trying to tell you. I think that can be even more important in a longer-term relationship to go, “Wait a minute, that didn’t quite add up.” I always say this in my keynotes—because that’s mostly what I do is corporate keynotes for financial service groups—is you pay attention or you pay with pain.
We put all this attention into our computers and making sure we have security cameras and locking the doors and things like that, but guess what? Why are you locking one door in your car and leaving the other four open? Security, it takes full enrollment from your senses at all times to lock those other doors.
It’s funny. It makes me think of back when I had a corporate job, I dealt with the building management and I remember getting an email from them at one point saying, “Hey, we’ve had this rash of people who don’t work in offices, walking into people’s offices, phone in hand, they walk through the office like they know what they’re doing.” They walk by some woman’s desk with the person sitting there, they just very quickly grab the purse and just slowly walk out the door. Nobody, no one in the office ever remembers the person ever came through because their body language was so much of the “I look like I belong here.”
Oh, yeah. They own it. It’s called social engineering and that’s a whole other thing. On my podcast—I have a podcast—it’s called Fraud Busting. I interview some of the world’s most notorious criminals and they started talking to me about social engineering. I’m like, “What is this?”
It is persuasion and influence for bad purposes, is what it is. It turns out, because I’ve been speaking a long time before I really started to focus on lie detection and what I would talk about is persuasion and influence, strategic body language, and words for deep unconscious persuasion, which is social engineering.
They picked it up because that’s how they run their business. Maybe they had to as a survival mechanism. A lot of them have abusive backgrounds and things like that so they had to really understand who was around them for their own safety and what was going to happen next.
Guess what? They transferred it into their business to do no good with it. What I do is teach people this is what the bad guys are doing. Let’s teach you how to use it for good and how you can see this coming. That gets to be pretty, pretty interesting as well so it’s much more than just deception. It’s very strategic for deep, unconscious persuasion.
This kind of leads me to the question: if you have intelligence communities and then there’s also counterintelligence, is there such a thing as kind of like counter body language where people who are familiar with body language reading, who are up to no good, will intentionally do things to either hide their tells or to show wrong tells? Or is that just really, really hard to do?
That is really hard to do. Case in point, the presidential debates are coming up. They’re September 29th, and most times what the candidates will do is they’ll sequester themselves for a while and practice their responses. Now they get asked questions and then they just start talking about whatever they want to talk about. But every now and then, one of them will throw the other one off and those are the times you’ve got to wait for. Body language, you can’t rub it out.
It’s a lot harder to see in rehearsed answers. It’ll leak out somewhere generally, mostly in the feet. We don’t often get to see the feet in debates, sometimes we do, but not a lot. The more you rehearse it, the more you can rub the signs out. But the key is with the debates or with whoever is that the answer is on the spot and there’s a certain element of surprise.
Then it’s the deck of cards just starts to fall. You can start to see that unravel and that’s when it gets really fascinating. Something to look for in the election cycle here coming up, because there should be three debates. If you can stand to watch all the lies, I mean, do it. Watch with the volume down and then you’ll be able to really get the truth.
Maybe that will be the way for me to watch the debates is to try to see if I can see shifts in people’s body languages and see, “Oh OK,” and then rewind to play with the volume back on.
Yeah, absolutely. And that’s a huge way to do it. What we want to watch for in the debates is I think we’ll see contempt quite a bit and that’s really typical for candidates. Contempt is defined as moral superiority. They’re doing it because they have these high morals and you see that with a crooked smile. Like an asymmetrical smile, and what else do we see in the debate?
We’ll see anger. We’ll see outright deception when one throws the other off-script because they both have their spin. It’s sort of the truth. What they tell is a bunch of half-truths. That’s going to be fun to watch and the best way to do it is to watch without the volume.
I guess even if we’re not watching presidential debates where people have done tremendous amounts of rehearsing, I know having done a public speaking course, we’re taught to do, they call them bits, where you have little stories and I’ve seen this starting to interview people. I can see when someone goes into a well-rehearsed story in that there’s a tonality change or something like that.
Are there other ways to spot when someone’s going to do a rehearsed story versus, “Oh yeah, I’m just telling you about something that happened yesterday,” but it’s rehearsed? The follow-up question is the fact that it’s rehearsed an indicator that it might be deception?
Oh, that’s interesting. People rehearse sales scripts all the time. They do and you can tell when they drop in to them because their pacing changes just a little bit. They don’t have the pauses that they had. Maybe they’ll use different words and those are pretty easy to listen for when you do that. What was the follow-up?
How to know when they’ve gone off? What was it? We talked about…
A rehearsal was a lie.
Yes, when they rehearse a lie.
It’s going to leak out somewhere, generally, unless someone is on the sociopath-psychopath scale, which I think we see in politics, or they’re knocking on the door.
We probably see it more often than we’d like to see.
We do, but we see it. The key here is that it’s going to leak out somewhere, usually. I’m talking 10% of people or so, maybe a little more than that, can be on the scale. We have the least control over our feet, so watch the feet. When you see it running in place as you stand behind a podium or in front of a TV camera and you see people start to run in place right with their feet, that’s the unconscious mind saying, “This is dangerous. We’ve got to get out of here. We’ve got to go.”
The amygdala flight mechanism is tripping.
Their conscious mind goes, “Nope, we’ve got to stay.” You see running in place and you see that all the time. We saw it with Tom Brady and Deflategate. We saw it with Chris Watts, who killed his family out here a couple of years ago in Colorado.
Those are just some of the videos that I’ve looked at, but it’s really consistent and you don’t think much of it. But it’s all the things that you don’t think much about that can get you. It’s like alternative facts, that’s what it is. It’s the facts woven into the truth. Those are the most expensive ones. That’s why, again, paying attention or paying with pain.
That’s the scary option is paying with pain. I can say that.
It’s a tongue twister, but it’s the truth. What is the pain? Oh, I know. Losing everything you work for because someone takes advantage, not making the sale, not getting the date you want. There’s all sorts of pain and it is different in every business and it boils down to time, money, and just brain-drain of hassles.
Is there one thing that people should be doing? I think there was a pause, that we need to pause and let the person speak. What’s the number one thing that you would tell people to watch out for when they’re dealing with someone to identify fraud, deception? That one takeaway, if there is one. Obviously, I don’t think there’s any clear cut, “well, anytime you see the person look up to the left, run away.”
Again, those are patterns, the eye patterns, and that’ll shift. But I think it is to be a little more on the down low, no more than is immediately obvious. Use it when the time is right because the whole idea here is information recovery. Make people comfortable enough around you that they’ll talk.
If you say, “You know what? That’s a lie.” Some people need to hear that. There are very few that need to hear that. They’re going to shut up and they’re not going to say anymore so that you’re not going to be able to find those incongruencies. Just know more that is immediately obvious and just file it away until it comes time to use it.
If you’re watching things and you’re listening for those incongruencies, that’s going to pay off big for you because you’ve used your awareness to protect yourself and find that information that’s really been hidden up to now.
I like that kind of doing a little bit of research in advance and knowing more than the other person thinks you know about them.
Absolutely. One of the things that I do that I can help people with is I can look at people’s dating profiles or LinkedIn profiles and understand what motivates them, how they’re probably going to think, and how they go when they get stressed. What happens when they get stressed because dating fraud is huge. I’ve been able to help a lot of friends do that. I’m always happy to take a look at pictures really quickly.
I know we’re bumping up on time here, but one friend of mine, I would do this for her and I’m like, “No, this guy, he’s going to have a lot of anger. This guy, you’re not going to want him for one reason or another.” Then she shows me this picture. I was like, “Look, do not have any contact with this guy. He is a huge problem.” And, sure enough…what happened.
Another friend of ours was like, “Oh, just go out with him.” He turned out to be a stalker and I’m like, “Look, I told you this. This is my job. This is what I do and then you ain’t going to listen. You know what? You deserve to get stalked. If that’s how you’re going to be.” We found her a great guy online.
There’s a lot that can be revealed even from people’s pictures, with their general motivations and their habits. Because people are going to put up the best picture that they have, that’s going to truly represent themselves. I’m like, “Great, game on, let’s do it right.” I like to be people’s little secret weapon, and so far, I’m batting a thousand. I like it.
Oh, that’s awesome. Is it easier to detect good truth or is easier to detect lies when you’re looking at stuff like that?
What I look for is the absence of lies; that make sense?
I kind of back into it. I’m like, “Wow, I don’t see any signs of deception.” Someone sent me a video the other day because I have fans, I guess, or people who have been my audience. They’re on my newsletter and they’ll send me things. They sent me the video of Paris Hilton who did an interview about this documentary that she’s in that details abuse of some reform home school that she did when she was young. I looked at it and she’s telling the truth because she’s congruent. I didn’t see any deception there and people were just curious. That’s what you look for, that’s what I look for. It’s the absence of deception and generally that gives you the truth. I suppose there can be some caveats there but generally that’s where it goes.
It’s more of a soft science so there’s always going to be caveats to any of these things.
There’s art and there’s science. Body language. I work with a lot of investigators, a lot of really big business deals will bring me in under disguise and put me as part of their team. There’s an art and a science to it. Body language is not admissible in court, neither is polygraph. My job is to tell investigators where to dig and where to look. There’s something here, you can find it. I don’t know what it is, but this situation is not the truth.
Sure enough, it turns out that way. That gets to be kind of funny. When the stakes are high, it’s important and I feel responsibility to do my best. But still, the best interrogators, the best body language experts are 80% really good.
So far, so good, I’m doing great. But there will be times where I get stuck, but that’s when I have a team that I can outsource to if I need to, federal agents that will help me out. I try to stack the decks in my favor.
That’s a good way to think of it. I was curious because we talked a little bit about sociopaths and psychopaths. When they lie to them, I don’t want to get into the psychology, but there’s this perception that when they lie, they don’t think it’s a lie so therefore they don’t have the same body language tells that maybe other people would. Is there a way to almost say there’s enough absence of tells to indicate that maybe this person is a sociopath or psychopath? A lack of response to things that should trip them up or should get them to behave a certain way which they don’t?
The reason that comes about is they can’t tell the difference between what’s going on externally and internally. I’m not the best expert at that. I can tell you that 80% of people in the correctional system are sociopath-psychopaths and that’s how misbehavior comes about. As far as detecting that, I don’t have a good clue to tell everyone. Their body language, tone and words, they’re not going to be the same as to regular people.
At some point, you’re going to know everything that they say is a lie. That’s your number one clue because you’re going to just know. If you’ve been around in certain situations where they have that tendency, you’ve almost got to stay a step ahead of them. Those are the people that you can say, “I know you are lying.” They’re not going to respond to that usually. They’re not going to have a good response to that because they’re not working on the same plane as the rest of us.
Yeah, there’s definitely some people that I run across that I would think that they’re sociopaths or psychopaths. I don’t understand the nuances between the difference of them where I know the factual thing that they said this did happen or didn’t happen when I know it absolutely did. It’s not one of those, it just depends on how you look at it, maybe it did or didn’t happen. They talked about it or didn’t talk about it, and didn’t even skip a beat. I was like, “That’s interesting.” Normally when someone is doing something that’s fairly obvious, like, there’s some body language tells, I guess.
Yeah, there are. You’ve got to listen to yourself on that. Here’s the thing: the reason I started my podcast—and it’s looking like I’m going to do some Hollywood stuff around it—is that looking back, the signs were all there. People tell me these crazy fraud stories all the time, but they always knew something wasn’t quite right. They couldn’t put their finger on it. It’s those things, like when you get that feeling that something’s not adding up here, something’s just a little off, that’s what you’ve got to pay attention to. That’s where big losses can happen. It’s in that little bit of doubt that creeps in.
With a little bit of training, sometimes you can put your finger on it. A lot of times you can, but it’s those little bitty things that add up. “Looking back, I knew that wasn’t right. I knew it wasn’t quite what it needed to be,” and you can find things that way.
Very interesting. If people want to find out more about you and your podcast, where do they go?
My podcast is just about anywhere you can get a podcast. It’s called Fraud Busting and you can find me at bodylanguagetrainer.com, and you’ll see all kinds of videos from my keynotes. Whenever I can help people out, that’s really what I like to do. I have helped stop some pretty big losses. I think the biggest one was $22 million of fraud loss that we stopped. That’s worth my keynote fee.
Absolutely. So really, you’re an insurance policy?
I think so. That’s how I look at it. If you look at our ROI, I haven’t done the math, but that’s like a billion percent.
That’s a really good ROI. I like that.
Not a lot of keynote speakers can claim real ROI, but I can.
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