How To Spot A Fraud
I have always said that “flattery” is dangerous. When someone comes into your world quickly with lots of flattery, it’s easy to get caught up in the compliments and words chosen to elevate who you are. However, years of being in business I have learned to take caution to such words and flattery. You see these words often come from strangers who do not know you well, and who seek to gain something from you. Am I right? Have you experienced this?
I like to see what the Bible has to say about such words as flattery. Even if you are not a Bible reading person, think of these words and how they resonate with you.
Romans 16:18 “For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.”
Psalm 12:2 “Everyone lies to their neighbor; they flatter with their lips but harbor deception in their hearts,”
Proverbs 26:28 “A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin.”
About 10 years ago I had a company come alongside me with lots of kind words and flattery. I listened and loved the high regard they had for me. I did not evaluate how they came about my company or me, but that they thought I was pretty awesome. The Flattery Distracted Me. I did not check on their references, nor did I check the words they spoke in “truth”. My learning curve was very slow. Almost a year of slow. It took me months to realize that this company was using me, my experience, and my resources for their personal gain, and I admit I was a little sloppy with billing. When it came time to pay up, they were never to be heard from or seen again. No returned phone calls, emails, or certified letters. All “promises made” never to be delivered on. That lesson cost me time and money. All because there was a lot of talk, a lot of flattery and a lot promises, none which were ever intended to be delivered on. Sometimes those lessons, the time and the money are what preserves us from the same kinds of mistakes.
I am happy to say that my learning curve is now very short. I have recently had a similar experience, which has me writing today. In hopes that you, the reader can be guarded against such individuals. Now that Social Media and the internet is hopping and busy, it can be hard to discern truth or false flattery. A call from a stranger. I get those once in a while. Asking about my business, and sharing the value they have in the business platform they work in. Wanting me to come alongside and help move their company forward. The call started with how wonderful and amazing I am. I listened and took notes. Lots of notes.
How To Spot A Fraud In Business
1. Have a Basic Set of Questions You Ask A Potential New Client.
-Write down notes/answers on each question asked.
-Ask some of the same questions differently.
-Evaluate the answers and you being to see contradictions in a fraud.
2. Ask for specific references to the character of this person.
-Take notes on who they are choosing for references.
-Follow the trails, they typically lead to absolutely nothing with a fraud.
-There is such a thing as false references and it’s easy to spot.
Frauds prey on those who seem most trusting, and most likely to not have the skill level to research and find this information.
3. What is the person promising you?
-Frauds will typically have many promising statements for your future.
-Write down those promising statements. When called on later, they
are often denied as ever being spoken.
4. Frauds speak very highly of themselves and those whom they have worked with. Often delivering such a high level of value of themselves that YOU should be honored to have received a place in their day or life.
-This is the most important to discern, as flattery, especially as it will intoxicate and distract you. A business adrenal rush that someone is not only interested in you, but is saying such nice things about you and want YOU apart of their amazing. Wow. Really?
-Look to the name dropping, the places they have been and seen.
-Ask questions, to see if those places and people are still around.
-Ask the person the why’s of a trail of failed relationships.
-Take notes and you begin to see the writing on the walls of a true fraud.
-Most business will have supporting statements from other business’. Not a fraud. They know this, so you actually find very little information on them that even substantiates their name, brand or business.
Nothing makes sense and nothing adds up. Confusion begins to set in. Plans, change, goals are rearranged, and as your references and research set in, there is no real business. Asking questions, and doing your research will save much wasted time, energy and resources. Most important during this short process is to NOT OFFER your experience or expertise without a written contract noting your time, your value, and your fee. A fraud will want to distract away from a payment, contract or fee and throw fun words to the wind of flattery to distract. Promising so much through the gift of using words.
This information is very basic, but very important to a small business. It’s important even in friendships. When I owned a fabulous kids furniture store here in town, I had “friends” all over the place. Those friendships came with lots of flattery, lots of how amazing Elizabeth is, and then the request for discounts and free services. When I said, “no” those friendships went away mad and angry with me.
This past month was yet another reminder of why it’s important to guard your heart, your mind and your business from these kinds of people. When truth is spoken directly to a fraud, something interesting happens. They go away very quickly. Never to be heard of or seen again. In the manner in which they spoke ill-will of others, you can bet the same will be spoken of you. However when a fraud speaks ill-will it’s often to those who already know their character. Rest assured your good standing in business will surely stand firm against a fraud. Even the most brilliant fraud has no platform for good will, integrity and honor.
May you have the confidence and boldness to step into your business with honor and integrity in all you say and do. Blessings, Elizabeth
p.s. If you are a small business just starting out. I would be happy to provide a basic questionnaire I use on all new prospects at no cost or fee.