Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Practical steps to protect your business against Bribery and Corruption


Develop policies to provide practical guidance for all employees on acceptable business practices covering:
• Business ethics – to create a culture of ‘doing the right thing’.
• Conduct and how to deal with conflicts of interest.
• Gifts and hospitality


Ensure that policies are embedded into normal business practices:
• Undertake independent due diligence of all third-party agents and others who are in a position to pay bribes business.
• Ensure that all third-party agents and intermediaries comply with your organisation’s business policies and procedures.
• Review the management of indirect sales channels (eg, agents, advisors, consultants and distributors).
• Include in your terms and conditions of trade the standards of ethical behaviour that you expect of joint venture and other business partners.
• Maintain accurate and timely records of all transactions related to third parties especially in the sales and procurement areas of the organisation.
• Establish mechanisms to enable significant issues to be escalated within the organisation.
• Undertake regular reviews and conduct appropriate audit of relevant business processes to ensure that they remain up to date and corruption risk is identified.


The commitment of staff is crucial to the success of your business policies and processes. To this end:
• Set the ‘tone from the top’ as one of zero tolerance towards bribery, corruption and other related crimes.
• Assign specific responsibilities to the board and senior management. Ensure appropriate oversight and adherence to policies and processes.
• Introduce and maintain a credible mechanism for employees to report concerns.


Ensure that staff and third parties (including customers and suppliers) are fully aware of company policy:
• Communicate clear simple messages across cultures and languages.
• Introduce full disclosure on policy, process and breaches in all reports.
• Ensure disciplinary policy on breaches is communicated and enforced.
• Implement appropriate and ongoing training and education programmes.

Sourced from Fraud Advisory Bureau

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Identity Fraud

The term ‘identity fraud’ is commonly used to describe the impersonation of another person for
financial gain. Fraudsters steal your personal identity and/or financial information and use it to
purchase goods and services or to access facilities in your name.

What is identity fraud?

Fraud occurs ‘when a false identity or someone else’s identity details are used to support unlawful activity, or when someone avoids obligation/liability by falsely claiming that he/she was the victim of identity fraud’.

Common types of identity fraud

Application fraud/account takeover:

A fraudster applies for financial services (eg, a new credit card or opens a new bank account) in your name or changes your postal address.

Impersonation of the deceased:

A fraudster uses the identity of a deceased person to obtain goods and/or services.


A fraudster sends you an email claiming to be from your bank or other legitimate online business (eg, a shop or auction website) asking you to confirm or update your personal information such as passwords and account details via a link in the email.

Present (current) address fraud:

A fraudster living at your address (eg. the same block of flats) or nearby uses your name to purchase goods and/or services and intercepts the mail when it arrives.

How does the fraud work?

A fraudster steals or acquires information about you. This may include:
· Your name
· Your current or previous address
· Your date of birth
· Your bank account or credit/debit card details
· Any other personal or financial information about you
· This information is then used to:
· Acquire new debit, credit or store cards Open bank or mobile phone accounts Obtain new passports or driving licences
· Apply for benefits
· Take out loans
All in your name. You may not realise that you have been a victim of identity fraud for some time. This is because the fraudster may intercept deliveries or redirect your mail without your knowledge or consent.

The Identity Fraudster
1. Steals/acquires personal/financial information about you
2. Uses this information to obtain finance/goods/services in your name
3. Intercepts/redirects goods/services
4. You stop receiving mail or receive mail about goods/services you know nothing about

What happens if you become a victim?

Generally you will not be liable for all of the debt incurred by the fraudster in your name. However you will need to rectify the damage caused by the fraudster (particularly. to your credit rating) and this can take time. 5 steps that you should take:
1. Report the matter to the relevant organisation(s) immediately. Follow their advice.
2. Obtain a copy of your credit report (available from credit reference agencies).Check for discrepancies. Go back to step 1.
3. Keep a record of all correspondence you make or receive in respect of the identity fraud.
4. Consider ‘protective registration’. A small annual fee is charged for this service.
5. Reassess your personal security strategies in respect of your personal and financial information. (Ask yourself ‘how well do I protect it and can I do anything differently?’)

In most cases it will be at the discretion of the organisation which supplied the goods and services to the fraudster to decide whether or not to prosecute. This is because the organisation supplying the goods or services is considered the victim in law – not you.

How to protect yourself

Be aware of the risk from identity fraud and safeguard your personal and financial information.

· Securely destroy all documents containing personal information before disposing of them.
· Remove your name from unnecessary or unwanted mailing lists.
· Arrange for your mail to be redirected if you move house and notify relevant organisations.
· If you don’t receive any mail, check with Royal Mail that a redirection hasn’t been set up in your name without your knowledge.
· Monitor your bank accounts regularly for any unusual transactions and close any banks accounts you no longer need.
· Review your credit report on a regular basis.
· Report lost or stolen personal documents and/or credit/debit cards.
· Limit the number of personal documents you carry to those that you need – leave the rest at home in a secure place.
· Use secure passwords and PINs – a combination of numbers and letters is best. Shield the display when entering your PIN into a cash machine or mobile terminal.
· Install anti-virus software and firewalls on your computer and keep them up to date.
· Limit the amount of information stored on mobile devices such as phones, PDAs and hand-held computers.

· Disclose personal information over the telephone (especially a mobile phone), on the internet, by mail or in person to people you don’t know.
· Respond to unsolicited emails.
· Disclose your passwords and PINs to other people, even to family members.
· Use obvious passwords or PINs or the same password for different accounts.
· Let your debit or credit card out of your sight in restaurants and shops.
· Disclose personal information on websites that are not secure.

Source: Fraud Advisory Panel

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fraud hotspots in smaller businesses

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) are particularly vulnerable to fraud in times of economic downturn; many lack the controls found in larger organisations and do not necessarily have the resources to combat certain types of fraud. This factsheet highlights some of the key areas of fraud risk.

Areas of fraud risk

All types and sizes of businesses are vulnerable to fraud. Smaller businesses can be susceptible to a very broad range of fraud risks and a small workforce can mean that it is difficult to segregate duties. Fraud can be committed by employees (sometimes called ‘internal fraud’ or ‘employee fraud’), third parties (such as suppliers and customers) and even by business owners themselves. Some of the most common fraud ‘hotspots’ are summarised below.


Card fraud: A fraudster pretends to be a legitimate customer and purchases goods using a stolen credit or debit card.

Non-deliveries: Customers falsely claim that goods dispatched from an online retailer have not been received.

Refunds: Customers steal goods from a retail outlet and then return the goods for a cash refund.


False or inflated supplier invoices:
Employees authorise payments for overpriced and/or non-existent goods or services and receive a ‘kickback’ (such as a cash payment) in return from the supplier. This is particularly noticeable in the property management sector where service charges are calculated on a cost plus percentage mark-up basis.

Fictitious refunds or returns:
Employees generate false refunds and either steal the cash value from the till or arrange for the amounts to be refunded directly to their personal credit card or bank account. Retailers are particularly susceptible to this type of fraud.

Ghost employees or contractors:
Fictitious employees and/or contractors are added to the business’ payroll and are paid wages and/or expenses.

Misappropriation of assets:
Employees help themselves to cash, stock, IT equipment such as laptops, and stationery or submit false expense claims.

Theft or supply of confidential information:
Employees steal confidential customer and/or client information and use it for fraudulent purposes.


False or inflated invoices: Suppliers invoice for more goods or services than were delivered or supplied, or invoice at a higher price than originally quoted. This may involve collusion with an employee to ensure that payments are authorised.

Long firm fraud: A business is set up with the purpose to defraud other legitimate businesses.

Property management: Over-charging by management companies using fictitious time records.

Other third parties

Corporate identity fraud:

A fraudster sets up a false company to trade or steals an organisation’s identity and/or financial information and uses it to purchase goods and services, obtain information or to access facilities in that organisation’s name.

Online banking fraud:

A fraudster gains access to the business’ online bank account and manipulates funds such as setting up standing order payments to his/her own bank account. Businesses that do not have adequate firewall protection are particularly vulnerable to this type of fraud.

Fraud warning signs

There are a number of warning signs that can indicate that fraud may be occurring within your business. These include:
• Changes in employee behaviour
• Changes in cash flow
• Stock shrinkage
• Customer complaints
• High turnover of staff
• Computer and network problems

Managing the risk of fraud

Your business can take a number of steps to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of fraud. The key elements of fraud risk management are:


• Establish an ethical business culture. Develop an anti-fraud policy that clearly sets out the minimum standards of
behaviour expected of employees (acceptance of gifts, use of assets, response to theft etc) and lead by example.
• Minimise the opportunities for fraud to occur within your business. Review your business activities; identify the areas most at risk to fraud and introduce controls to prevent it. These might include segregating finance duties, implementing authorisation thresholds, conducting reference checks on new employees and introducing IT systems access controls. Controls do not need to be complicated or expensive.


• Be aware of the indicators of fraud. Introduce procedures to detect the early warning signs that fraud is taking place. These might include educating staff to spot common frauds and scams, introducing a reporting hotline, conducting spot audits (of stock, sales and purchase ledgers etc) and reviewing profit and loss accounts on a regular basis.


• Make sure you are prepared to respond to a fraud being discovered within your business. Smaller businesses should consider a policy that independent professional advice will be sought at the outset of any fraud investigation. Larger organisations should include fraud as part of their disaster recovery plan. This should cover the investigation process (who, when and how), legal or ethical duties to report (to your shareholders, customers, bank, insurance company and/or regulator(s)) and public relations.
• It is important to remember that there are different standards of proof that need to be met according to the type of action you wish to take against the fraudster – disciplinary, regulatory, civil or criminal.


• Consider the need for fidelity or crime protection and/or directors’ and officers’ liability insurance.


• Business practices and activities change over time. Regularly review the systems, processes and controls you have in place to manage the risk of fraud to ensure that they remain current, relevant and appropriate for your business’ needs.

Indicators of fraud checklist

There are a number of behavioural and financial warning signs that can indicate that there may be a problem within your business. These should not be taken as definitive proof that there is a fraud; some employees will display one or more of these characteristics and be completely honest and trustworthy; others may display none but may be dishonest.

Employee behaviour:

• Increased levels of stress without a high workload
• Lifestyle not commensurate with salary
• Reluctant to take annual holidays
• Personal financial problems
• Tends to bend/break the rules
• Tends to be subject to complaints
• Works late or unusual hours
• Is unwilling to delegate
• Refuses promotion
• Cosy relationship with contractors and/or suppliers
• New staff resign quickly


• Cash only transactions
• Large variation in expenses between offices/outlets
• Poorly reconciled cash expenses
• Poorly reconciled customer accounts
• Customer complaints
• Rising costs with no explanation or that are not commensurate with an increase in revenue
• Large volume of refunds to customers
• Unusually large inventories

What to do if your business suffers a fraud

Three steps that you should take are:

1. Report the matter to the gardai and other relevant organisation immediately. Depending upon the type of fraud this could include your bank, insurance company, suppliers and/or customers.
2. Consider seeking specialist professional advice.
3. Reassess the way your organization conducts and manages its business to ensure it is adequately protected against this type of fraud occurring in future.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fraud in a Recession

Economic recession

A downturn places people under pressure and leads some into dishonesty. Fraud losses make recession induced cashflow, liquidity and credit problems worse. Coping with the consequences of even a small fraud will consume energies when management time is already at a premium.

A recession increases fraud threats from inside the business, for example: Managers desperate to keep their heads above water may be tempted to falsify accounts and sales returns; Employees with large debts may inflate expense claims, ‘borrow’ from the till, steal stock and company assets and collude with customers, suppliers or Contractors: Staff may be more vulnerable to attempts to get them to sell confidential information; Organised criminals may infiltrate companies, placing individuals in positions where they have access to money, goods, or information that can be turned to financial gain.

Recession also brings to light existing frauds as credit lines run out and financial manipulation can no longer be concealed.

External attacks are equally serious. Companies providing customer credit are at risk from an increase in fraudulent applications. Suppliers and contractors will be under pressure and some will defraud business customers. As smaller firms find it harder to obtain credit from traditional sources they will be tempted to turn to new and untried sources of funding, some of which will be offered by fraudsters.

What to do if your business suffers a fraud

Three steps that you should take:

1. Report the matter to the police and other relevant organisations immediately. Depending upon the type of fraud this could include your bank, insurance company, suppliers and/or customers.

2. Consider seeking specialist professional advice.

3. Reassess the way your organization conducts and manages its business to ensure it is adequately protected
against fraud.

Remember that a recession is the time to take fraud seriously.

· Identify the areas of your business that might be most vulnerable to loss from theft or fraud, such as sales, stock, purchasing, expenses and record keeping.

· Strengthen any obvious weaknesses you have identified. This might include introducing additional checks for signing off payments or authorising purchases.

· Monitor your bank and credit card statements for unusual transactions.

· Designate a senior member of staff with responsibility for managing risk. He/she should identify areas of vulnerability and recommend changes to business processes where appropriate.

· Ensure that your business premises have adequate physical security protection including locks, keypads and alarms.

· Try to minimise cash transactions within your business.

· Conduct checks on your suppliers, contractors and biggest customers to make sure they are who they say they are and that you are getting value for money

· Check invoices against original purchase orders and the goods supplied.

· Make sure your staff are aware of the risks from theft and fraud and how to report it.

· Communicate staff expense policies/procedures and monitor compliance. Check references for all new staff; full-time, part-time, temporary, and casual. Further checks may be needed as employees are promoted or require access to more confidential information.

· Adequately protect your IT systems and business information from the cybercrime risks posed by phishing, viruses, hacking and scams.

· Consider how you would respond to a fraud if it was discovered in your organisation

What Do Not

· Forget that severe economic pressures can cause previously honest people to become dishonest.

· Assume all information provided by prospective employees, lenders or contractors is accurate.

· Economise on protecting your business against the risk of fraud.

Source; The Fraud Advisory Panel

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wireless Safety

Wireless technology is now built into just about every gadget we’re likely to own – from mobile phones, PDA’s and laptops through to iPods, cameras and book readers. It is a functionality which is less a feature than a consumer requirement.
Always being connected especially when you’re on the move, can seem like a wonderful thing. You can surf the internet, write and pick up emails, download important files – everything you can do in the office or at home – wherever and whenever you wish. But all this comes at a price. The price is the security of your data.

Wireless communications offer a window of opportunity for the data thief

Mobile phones, PDA’s and laptops now come with two wireless technologies as standard: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Many people forget to turn this functionality off on their mobile and laptops when they are not in use. Mobile phones in particular are often switched on permanently because users don’t think to check. As a result their presence is advertised to other wireless users 300 feet away or more. Since the signals are always seeking connections they are easily discovered and unless properly secured, can be hacked in a matter of minutes.

Securing mobile Wi-Fi- computers

There is one very simple wireless security solution; turn if off if you are not using it. With most laptops, all it takes is a flick of a switch. Wi-Fi signals travel further then Bluetooth signals and this should be borne in mind especially in heavily populated areas.

One of the main risks with mobile Wi-Fi is that it can be configured to automatically connect to available networks. This puts your computer at risk as it may hop on to any free hotspot without notifying the user. All the potential hacker then needs is some free software, readily available on the internet, to steal passwords, contacts and other personal or confidential data.

Wi-Fi on the move- phones

The main security risk with mobile phones is Bluetooth.
Bluetooth transmissions work up to about 30 feet or more. Again in a public place this can advertise your presence and the fact that your device can be connected to and either hacked or hijacked.

Hijacking is a favourite ploy of many fraudsters. They can steal a mobile number silently and with great simplicity then use it to dial premium numbers for services which would be difficult to explain to a person’s spouse or partner. The resulting bill can be an equal embarrassment, with no way of proving to the service provider that it wasn’t the subscriber making the calls. The best way of staying secure is to switch Bluetooth off by going into the phone settings and disabling it.

Wi-Fi at home

Home wireless networks have a range of around 300ft indoors and 300ft or more outdoors, depending on a number of factors, including the strength of the transmitter and the number and type of obstructions in the way of the signal.
‘War driving’ is a common tactic used by fraudsters who drive around residential areas to identify and exploit weak home wireless networks for their own gain.
An easy way of making a wireless network more secure is to place the transmitter near the centre of the home, away from windows .Modern wireless networks come with certain security features built in eg. Firewall; The ability to encrypt traffic. These features should be enabled at set up.

How to protect yourself:


  • Disable automatic connection on your computer to Wi-Fi networks.
  • Turn Wi-Fi off on your computer when it’s not in use
  • Turn the Bluetooth signal to ‘undiscoverable’ on your mobile phone when it is not in use.
  • Set a Bluetooth pass code on your mobile phone and change it frequently
  • Enable security features built into your wireless networks such as firewalls and encryption
  • Change the administrator name and password on your home wireless network
  • Change the default SSID (Secure Set Identifier) name at set up and disable broadcast.

  • Use the default settings on your wireless devices – the defaults are well known to hackers
  • Choose an obvious profile for your mobile phone
  • Pair your mobile phone with any Bluetooth enables devise that you do not recognise
  • Use default pass code settings, names or passwords on your mobile phone or wireless networks
  • Do not leave your home wireless networks turned on if you go away for any length of time.

Adapted from Fraud Facts, Wireless safety; Fraud Advisory Panel

Thursday, August 19, 2010

It's booker beware in the holiday lets market

This article was written by Sandra O'Connell and was published in The Irish Times Saturday 14th August 2010.


Go Niche: THINK THERE’S nothing worse on holiday than bad weather? Try turning up and finding the villa you just forked out a fortune for doesn’t exist. Or exists but whose owners know nothing about your booking.

It’s a problem private investigator Annie Murphy of Bluemoon Investigations says is on the rise. She was recently engaged to unravel a particularly well-organised scam offering non-existent holiday lets in upmarket Puerto Banus (pictured).

“It was very professional. A number of properties were advertised through classified ads and on letting websites over a period of time. The guy on the end of the phone sounded very plausible. He said he was a quantity surveyor, and directed people to his own business website, which looked the part,” says Murphy.

It was only when people began arriving in Spain and found the properties didn’t exist that the scam became apparent.

By that stage the money had been transferred and the guy on the end of the phone line had stopped answering.

“Turns out his very professional website was made up of material lifted wholesale from two other quantity surveyor websites, including pictures of personnel,” says Murphy.

“The phone was an unregistered pay-as-you-go phone and the people behind the scam couldn’t be tracked down.”

Her advice is to be vigilant. “Avoid booking through classified adverts or from online adverts unless you already know someone who has booked that accommodation before with no problems and only ever make credit or debit card payments through secure websites,” says Murphy.

“If in doubt at all, do not make the booking or hand over any payment and, if a deal seems too good to be true, then it probably is.”

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I spy with my little watch

This article was published in the Independent Saturday July 31 2010

Be afraid. Be very afraid. They are watching you. Your phone could be bugged, your computer tracking your every key stroke and that harmless air freshener on the windowsill fitted with video recording equipment designed to catch you red-handed.
Forget international intrigue, James Bond, or the CIA. The new front line of hi-tech espionage is your office desk. And the spies are all around you.
So if you thought this summer's slippery and cerebral blockbuster, Inception, about the covert world of corporate espionage, was Hollywood fantasy, think again.
Just ask the Michigan couple who this week were accused of stealing more than $40m worth of trade secrets from their former employer, General Motors, and selling them to a Chinese car-maker.
Shashan Du (51) and her husband Yu Qin (49) were under covert investigation since 2006 and this week were charged with secretly downloading highly confidential insider information and selling it to the highest bidder. It is the latest in a growing number of high-profile cases of industrial espionage to hit the headlines.
"We are finding more businesses coming to us," says Annie Murphy of Bluemoon Investigations based in Dun Laoghaire. "Many suspect a particular individual is leaking information to a rival organisation or fear a competitor is trying to steal commercially sensitive information."
In fact, many managers have become so paranoid about the growing threat they do regular 'bug sweeps' of their premises. "Industrial espionage offers huge gains for the person carrying it out," says Murphy.
"We have found employees who want to steal information because they are about to start working for a competitor and others who simply want to try and sell the information. You would be surprised at how often this type of thing is happening."
This new army of mercenaries is equipped with hi-tech gadgets that would make even Mr Bond quiver with delight.
A quick visit to The Spy Shop ( will reveal an Aladdin's Cave of sneaky snooping devices to help any wannabe spy or PI.
Technology, such as Spy Pen Cameras and Deleted Text Message Readers, has flooded onto the market to meet the growing demand.
"The equipment is just getting better and better," says Shane Doran of The Spy Shop. "And it's quite affordable now."
Some of the top sellers include the Covert Car Tracker, the Tissue Box Video Camera and Recorder and the Spy Watch with inbuilt video camera and recording equipment.
"The big change now is for recording systems," says Doran.
"In the past you would have had to have a camera, a power supply and then link it all up to a recorder. But now they all come in one and can be placed in most everyday devices and operated remotely."
One such device is the GSM Infinity Mains adaptor. It not only looks like a normal plug adaptor, but works like one. However, it secretly contains a hidden listening device that allows the owner to snoop from afar on conversations within a room by simply dialling the number of the SIM card located inside the device.
Bluemoon Investigations recently used similar hi-tech wizardry when contacted by a managing director concerned about the amount of fuel seemingly evaporating into thin air.
"It was a manufacturing company with a fairly large transport fleet where large volumes of diesel were unaccounted for," recalls Murphy. "However nothing was showing up on the closed-circuit cameras."
Bluemoon installed hi-tech recording devices around the premises and deployed undercover agents to infiltrate the very heart of the organisation.
"Following surveillance, our hidden cameras captured an employee selling the diesel to friends and local tradesman," reveals Murphy.
However, this didn't explain why there was no evidence on the company's own security cameras.
"One of our covert cameras recorded the company's security guard tampering with company's CCTV recording and removing the evidence. It also recorded him receiving his ill-gotten gains from the other employee for helping to cover up the theft."
Some companies have become so fearful of espionage they are turning the tables and giving employees they no longer trust phones with Bond-like capabilities.
The Spy Store ( sells the Nokia Spy Phone (€179.99), which, once switched to spy mode, becomes the ultimate snooping tool. You can leave the phone unattended and then dial into it to listen in on what is being said. The Nokia E51 Spy Phone (€549.99) is even sneakier. It not only allows you dial in and snoop, but to receive copies of every text message sent from the phone.
Although every self-respecting spy should be aware of Trojans bearing gifts, anyone looking to get their hands on such legally available products could find using them opens a dangerous legal minefield.
"You have to be careful you are not breaking any laws," says Murphy. "If an employee is using a computer to download sensitive information, there is software available that can detect and record their actions. Obviously if the company owns that equipment then they would be entitled to put software on the machine to see if any unauthorised activity is taking place. But you have to be careful you are not breaching anybody's human rights."
So if you are an employee with light fingers, a manager looking to sell company secrets or even a husband playing away from home, just be careful you don't get caught dangling in a web of technology.
Right now you're every move could be tracked and every word recorded. So wherever you find yourself just remember what the spider said to the fly -- "Will you walk into my parlour? 'Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy."
Irish Independent

Friday, July 23, 2010

"Holiday Let" Down

Be on your guard when booking a holiday let or you could become the victim of organised fraudsters, is the warning issued today by Bluemoon Investigations.

Private Investigator Annie Murphy of Bluemoon Investigation explains how she has seen an increase recently in the number of holidays maker who arrive at their holiday destination to find the apartment they had booked, simply does not exist or if it does, that they do not have a legitimate booking.

Fraudsters will advertise property at attractive rates for holiday rental in the classified section of national and regional newspaper as well as online. The fraudster will often advise anyone who responds to the adverts that he is a member of a respected profession, with his own successful business; this is intended to instil confidence in potential victims. There is often a fake website set up specifically for this scam and victims are given the website address. At face value the websites appears to be a genuine business but really just comprises of information lifted from genuine websites in the same sector.

It is only when the victims arrive at their holiday destination which may be many weeks or months after they made the payment to the fraudster, that they realise this is just a scam. They are then in the unenviable position of having to secure accommodation, if they are actually able to do this, at such short notice, it more often than not results in having to pay a huge premium.
“Just this week we became aware of a family who fell foul of one of these trickers and paid €500 for a week’s accommodation in Puerto Banus for their teenage daughter, who flew out there earlier this week” explains Annie.” Fortunately she already had friends in the area with whom she could stay with, others however will not be as lucky”.

“You can protect yourselves from these tricksters by always booking accommodation through a reputable outlet or through recommendation from families and friends” Annie advises “Avoid booking through classified adverts or from online adverts unless you already know someone who has booked that accommodation before with no problems and only ever make credit or debit card payments through secure websites. If in doubt at all do not make the booking or hand over any payment and if a deal seems too good to be true then it probably is”.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Can Your Marriage Survive an Affair? Seven Questions to Ask Yourself

It depends on what you mean by 'an affair' - can your marriage survive? If cheating were only limited to a spontaneous and discreet scratching of an itch, if you could just bottle the whole experience and leave it where you never need to see it again, then YES. Only problem is that the itch often becomes a 'rash'!

A generation ago, roles were clearly defined: men were the providers and women were the home-makers and child-rearers. Financial and social dependency and lack of opportunity predisposed us to fidelity. Today, we are independent and fully 'out there' (and don't forget our partners are working with fully out-there women too). There is NOTHING inevitable about fidelity. It becomes a decision we have to make over and over in life. It is important to remember that our emotions are not driven by logic and that it takes bravery and lots of hard work for a marriage to survive an affair.

Here are seven important questions, the answers of which will determine the likelihood of a marriage surviving an affair:

1. Is the one who cheated making excuses for what happened?

2. Does the one who cheated understand the hurt they've caused?

3. Is this an isolated event or a pattern? Is there a pattern of flirting/setting up situations which could lead somewhere?

4. Does "I'm sorry", mean "Sorry I did it", or 'Sorry I got caught"?

5. If they can't understand why it's such a bum thing to have done, you can't begin to rebuild trust. Are they willing to start again and start clean? This means cutting off all contact with that person.

6. Is cheating 'normal' for the one who messed around - something close friends and family have a history of?

7. If your relationship survives this, and it happens again, will you survive a second round of hurt? If not, think very hard about whether to make the effort.

So, is your marriage in trouble? You are not alone - thousands of people worldwide, are experiencing the same problems. Start saving your marriage right now and go to the link below and give your marriage the best possible chance of long term success.
Article Source:

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Polygraph Tests

Polygraph tests, commonly known as “lie detector” tests are becoming increasingly more popular in Ireland, but what is a polygraph test and in what circumstances are you likely to require one?

Polygraph Tests

The polygraph, which is in effect a medical instrument works by tracing changes in a person's physiological conditioning – changes in the autonomic nervous system- during questioning. These changes are recorded directly on to the polygraph charts so that they can be reviewed.
A polygraph examination usually takes between two and three hours from beginning to end, and consists of three different phases; pre-test interview, collection of charts, and analysis of charts.

The first part, the pre test interview, usually takes the longest time to complete. During this stage the examiner will explain how the polygraph works. He will then discuss the specific issue and develop and review all the questions to be asked on the polygraph test.

The subject is then attached to the polygraph. The set of questions, which was developed during the pre-test interview, will be asked three or four times. During this stage only the examiner and subject will be present.

Once the examiner has collected the charts he will review and analyse the results before giving a decision as to the subject's truthfulness or deception

How accurate are Polygraph Tests?

It is estimated that when carried out by a person who has been properly trained using a validated technique, the results are between 95% and 95% accurate. Polygraph test are an established fool proof way of establishing whether a person is being deceptive.

Is it possible to “beat” the polygraph?

If a person engages in behaviors in order to distort the polygraph tracings, it becomes evident to a trained examiner
Beating the polygraph," says Dr Louis Rovner, a noted scientist and polygraph expert in Los Angeles, California "is impossible for just about everybody." The polygraph is a scientific instrument which records physiological changes in our bodies. Polygraph examiners are trained to look for subtle abnormalities in these changes as a person answers a series of questions. The changes, he says, are involuntary reactions that occur in our bodies when we are not being truthful. "In order to beat the test," he says, "a person must use his central nervous system to override the involuntary activity of the autonomic nervous system, and he must do it on cue, every 25 seconds or so." Given the anxiety of a typical polygraph subject, it is extremely unlikely that anyone could successfully fool a competent polygraph examiner.

In what circumstances are Polygraph tests used?

There are a wide range of scenario’s where polygraph tests have been used. Annie Murphy of Bluemoon Investigations comments that Bluemoon clients have requested polygraph tests relating to marital infidelity, fraud, theft, pre-employment screening, family disputes, domestic abuse and truth verification.
Polygraphs can also be used where accusations of sexual abuse have been made. In fact the U.K Probation services in nine areas are taking part in a three year trial of polygraph session on sex offenders. Paedophiles and rapists are having to take lie-detector tests in a bid to stop them re-offending. They must take regular tests as a condition of their release from prison and could be sent back to custody if they refuse as a breach of parole.


In most European jurisdictions, polygraphs are not generally used by police forces. However, in any lawsuit, an involved party can order a psychologist to write an opinion based on polygraph results to substantiate the credibility of its claims. The court weighs the opinion like any other opinion the party has ordered. In most cases, polygraph tests are voluntarily taken by a defendant in order to substantiate his or her claims.

If you would like to arrange a Polygraph Test please contact Annie Murphy at Bluemoon Investigations.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Protect Your Password

Identity theft and theft of personal information is on the increase and hackers are becoming more technically advanced all the time. That's why it is more important than ever that computer users create theft proof passwords to avoid identity theft.

Two of the most common ways passwords can be stolen is through thieves skimming information on social networking sites as well as bots trolling sites and automatically trying the most commonly used passwords first.

Imperva were able to compile the following list of the most common and worst used passwords,

1. 123456
2. 12345
3. 123456789
4. Password
5. iloveyou
6. princess
7. facebook, or twitter
8. 1234567
9. 12345678
10. abc123
11. Nicole
12. Daniel
13. babygirl
14. monkey
15. Jessica
16. Lovely
17. Michael
18. Ashley
19. 654321
20. Qwerty

Tips for Creating Safe Passwords

  • Regularly change your passwords - ideally several times a year
  • Use different passwords for every site you use
  • Keep your passwords random
  • Mix up numbers, letters, and capitalization
  • Don't use actual words, make a password from a sentence for example: I love my wife and two children - ilmwa2c
  • Do not use letter or numerical sequences for example: abc123
  • Don't use the name of the service in your password for example: facebook123

Friday, June 18, 2010

Selling Your Car? Don't make life easy for the Fraudsters!

Still on the subject of Identity theft - a few security issues to consider when selling your car.

Does your car have an inbuilt GPS/Satellite navigation system.(SatNav) You could be surprised at the number of people, who, when selling their vehicle forget to erase the personal information contained on the SatNav.

This information may include names and addresses of family and friends - as well as your own, but also perhaps your bank and work location? This could be damaging for you if it fell into the wrong hands - obviously the same advice applies if you are selling a portable satnav device.

Also check carefully the car boot, side pockets and down the back of the car seats for any forgotton receipts, statements, letters.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Losing face online?

Would you give your personal details to a stranger on the street?

The last decade has seen rapid growth in the area of internet fraud – crimes range from stolen identity to access bank accounts and use credit cards – to creating new identities altogether.

Often people are “tricked” into supplying personal data and financial information via spurious emails claiming to be from authentic sites, such as banking institutions or auction sites.

There are steps one can take to avoid the nasty business of identity theft online; many are basic “common sense” approaches – simply checking before you give information out – “would I normally do this? Or would I do this in a non-internet scenario?”

The simple fact of online theft is: these “thieves” are trying to steal money from the individual or steal the identity of the individual for another purpose such as a loan application or mortgage. Can you imagine how you’d feel if you received a demand for a mortgage or loan you’d never applied for? Worse still, what if your savings or current accounts were emptied by some hacker?

In addition to the horror of these potential situations, victims of such theft can spend hundreds of hours trying to clear their names with banks or credit agencies.

So, how do you avoid falling foul to these internet gangsters? We recommend following some simple guidelines; including the straightforward rule of “if I wouldn’t give this to a stranger, why am I putting it on the internet?” There are other key considerations such as: where you keep your driving license and other forms of I.D. and how you store or destroy bills and statements. It is imperative that you don’t (albeit accidentally!) leave a trail of information for any willing identity thief to collect. Most importantly, don’t be fooled into thinking “it won’t happen to me”.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Everything you didn’t know about the world of PI!

Hands-up who thinks of “Magnum” or “Jessica Fletcher” ... even good old “Poirot” (complete with perfect moustache and mincing steps!) when they hear the word “PI”?

The private investigation industry is synonymous with television and literary characters, probably due to the intrigue and secretive nature of the business. However, the truth of the matter is that private investigation was conceived of in the mid nineteenth century, and is utilised by many different professions and individuals to provide services and information on a wide-range of issues.

One of the first known PI agencies was founded by Eugène François Vidocq, a French soldier. Vidocq is credited with having introduced record-keeping, criminology and ballistics to criminal investigation; along with creating indelible ink and unalterable bond paper. Vidocq’s career was almost curtailed entirely when he was arrested on charges of unlawful imprisonment, among other things, in 1842. However, he successfully appealed the sentence and was released, having created a platform for a brand-new industry.

In 1850, the Pinkerton National Detective Agency was established in the USA by Allan Pinkerton, becoming famous when the agency foiled a plot to assassinate then President- Elect Abraham Lincoln. There have been some claims to suggest that, at one point, Pinkerton employed more agents than the USA army.

Pinkerton agents were hired to track western outlaws Jesse James, the Reno brothers and the Wild Bunch, including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. In fact, they also inspired the term “private eye” with their logo – an eye embellished with the words “we never sleep”.

While there are obvious tasks involved in PI work; there are also many types of job which the public would not normally associate with a PI. Often a PI will be responsible for carrying out process-serving for the legal profession, background-checking an individual, tracing (of various types) and investigation of spurious insurance claims.

The role of a PI is a varied one; and as such it attracts a diverse audience to its career-path. Nowadays PIs prefer to be known as “professional investigators” as opposed to “private investigators” or “private detectives” – in response to the image that is sometimes attributed to the profession and an effort to establish and demonstrate the industry as a proper and respectable profession.

Do you have a query we could help you with? Please feel free to contact Bluemoon Investigations for a no-obligation consultation 01 2311033 or

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Can a woman forgive an affair? Not if the man gave her his heart

After pop star Ronan Keating's affair was exposed, his wronged wife Yvonne has come out and said something many other betrayed women have felt before her.

The reason she is finding it so hard to forgive him is that 'it wasn't just sex, it was emotional'.

In other words, a one-night stand is one thing - in time a woman can forgive a sexual betrayal - but a prolonged liaison is different. You see, if there's one thing a woman can't bear, it's having her emotional security threatened.

Interestingly, when it comes to divorce, the majority of men sue on the grounds of adultery - whereas women sue on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour.

Men can't stand the idea of another man laying claim to his woman's body, while women can't stand the idea of another woman laying claim to her man's heart.

What a woman really minds is discovering that her man is whispering sweet nothings to another woman and bestowing on them the kind of attention that he used to reserve for her.

Attention and affection is what a woman really wants, even if they've been married for ever. So the fact he's giving it out elsewhere is a betrayal amounting to high treason.

As an agony aunt, I receive letters from women who have discovered that their husbands have been having an affair. They almost always say that if it had just been a one-night stand, they could have forgiven it (we're all human).

But it's the length of the relationship and the betrayal involved they can't tolerate. As one woman put it: 'If he can lie straight to my face, day after day, for months, what else is he capable of?'

Again, it is not so much about the sex as the emotional attachment they care about: 'I don't think I can ever trust him again.'

Many women are terrified by their own responses. Would they ever be able to truly feel safe in the relationship again?

As a friend of mine said, after she had discovered her partner had been having an affair for years, not only did she feel like an idiot for not seeing it - and for trusting him completely - she was terrified that she would turn into a suspicious, jealous bitch (her word).
'I'd constantly want to punish him and I don't want to be that sort of person,' she said.
'I would end up not only hating him, but hating myself, too.'

At the same time, if a woman strays, it tends not to be for the lure of a pair of buff biceps and a six-pack, but because she is feeling ignored at home.

The letters I receive as an agony aunt from women secretly confessing to affairs are never about sex. They are, without exception, about their husband treating them like a piece of furniture.
'He doesn't even notice I exist,' is one complaint. The other (most common) is: 'He doesn't talk to me.'

So when the bloke in the office takes them out for a drink, hangs on their every word and treats them like the most fascinating creature that ever walked the earth, they fall hook, line and sinker. It is the talk that really matters. The sex usually comes later.

Talk, as far as women are concerned, is not cheap. Intimacy is about communication, whether it is verbal or physical and, if the letters I get from women are anything to go by, once verbal communication goes out of the window, sex goes out of the bedroom.

Women need to know they have a unique emotional connection with their partner: that is why they can't bear to have it shattered by another woman.

A friend of mine who is in the feverish honeymoon period of a new love affair, goes into freefall if a day goes by when she doesn't get a text from her boyfriend - no matter how great the sex they have is when they are together.

'I don't ask for much,' she complains. And she is right. It doesn't take much to keep us happy. Which is why some women are prepared to forgive a sexual betrayal - if only their husband still loves them and is willing to work for her forgiveness.

I have even known unusual couples who have an agreement (for whatever reason) that their partner - and that usually means the man - may have sex with other women.

It all works perfectly until their man becomes emotionally involved - because after that it's not actually the exchange of body fluids that matters to us (although we don't much like that, either) it is the exchange of affection.

Perhaps that is why Hillary famously forgave Bill 'I did not have sexual relations with that woman' Clinton - not because she didn't mind a spot of out-of-hours canoodling, but because it was obvious that her husband had no feelings for Monica Lewinsky other than lust.
'That woman' was never any threat to Hillary because she may just as well have been a blow-up sex doll. But what of the reasons for these differences between the sexes?

Why can women forgive sex whereas men can't? The thing is, like it or not, as far as evolution is concerned, we really are built differently.

Men are made to spread their seed as far and wide as possible to ensure the continuation of their genes, while female survival means securing a mate to protect her children.

When there are a few hundred predators stalking the landscape outside the cave, you had better be sure you have got a hunter-gatherer by your side.

What he does when he is out on one of his late night forays is his business, as long as he brings home the bacon. But when he stays out scattering nuts and berries outside another woman's cave, your very existence, as well as that of your children, is in serious danger.

For women, love is not simply a question of champagne and flowers. It serves as a bonding process to keep men by their side, so for them it's an urgent matter of survival.

There is a science to all this, too. Dr David Goldmeier, lead clinician at the Sexual Function Clinic at St Mary's hospital in London, says: 'It's easier for men. We have 15 times the levels of testosterone, so if we see the right female, we're off.'
Whereas women have, what he calls, 'responsive desire'.
In other words, women need to feel an emotional connection to the man in their life - and if they feel that connection has been broken because of another woman, they can struggle to ever forgive their man.

So when Yvonne Keating (or any other woman) says she is more devastated about her husband's emotional than sexual infidelity, she's got science - and evolution - on her side.

By Sally Brampton
Source: Mail Online

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"Tab Nabbing" - a new online scam

Watch out for this new online phishing scam which uses 'tab napping' to attack your computer - and your finances...

As internet users we’re all vulnerable to online scams. Unluckily for us, as soon as we become pretty good as spotting one type of attack, another more sophisticated version comes along in its place. In fact, technology company Mozilla - which developed the Firefox web browser - has recently warned against a possible threat from a new scam known as ‘tap napping’ which takes phishing one step further.

What is tab napping?

Tab napping is essentially a new kind of phishing scam. Until now phishing has involved sending hoax emails in an attempt to steal your usernames, passwords and bank details. Often the sender will claim to be from your bank and will ask you to verify your bank details by clicking on a link contained in the email.

The link actually directs you to a fake website which looks just like your bank's own website. Once you have typed in your login details they can be accessed by the criminals who set the fake site up.

But we’re beginning to wise up to phishing attacks like this, and many of us know we should be very wary of clicking URLs even if they appear to be in a legitimate email.

With awareness of phishing on the up, making it more difficult for scammers to succeed, tab napping could be the scam to watch out for next.

How does tab napping work?

Tab napping is more sophisticated than the phishing scams we’ve seen so far, and it no longer relies on persuading you to click on a dodgy link. Instead it targets internet users who open lots of tabs on their browser at the same time (for example, by pressing CTRL + T).

How does it work?

By replacing an inactive browser tab with a fake page set up specifically to obtain your personal data - without you even realising it has happened.

Believe it or not, fraudsters can actually detect when a tab has been left inactive for a while, and spy on your browser history to find out which websites you regularly visit, and therefore which pages to fake.

So don't assume that after you have opened a new tab and visited a web page, that web page will stay the same even if you don’t return to it for a time while you use other windows and tabs. Malicious code can replace the web page you opened with a fake version which looks virtually identical to the legitimate page you originally visited.

How might tab napping work in practice?

Imagine you open the login page for your online bank account, but then you open a new tab to visit another website for a few minutes, leaving the first tab unattended. When you return to your bank’s site the login page looks exactly how you left it. What you haven’t realised is that a fake page has taken its place, so when you type in your username and password, you have inadvertently given the fraudster easy access to your account.

Even if you have already logged into your bank account before opening another tab, when you return you might find you’re being asked to login again. This may not necessarily rouse any suspicion since you might simply assume your bank has logged you out because you left your account inactive for too long. You probably won’t even think twice before logging in for a second time. But this time round you have accidently inputted your security details into a fraudster’s fake page which have been sent back to their server.

Once you have done so, you can then be easily redirected to your bank’s genuine website since you never actually logged out in the first place, giving you the impression that all is well.

How can you protect yourself against tab napping?

This is pretty scary stuff but thankfully tab napping should be relatively easy to avoid. Here are five simple ways you can prevent yourself from falling victim:
• Make sure you always check the URL in the browser address page is correct before you enter any login details. A fake tabbed page will have a different URL to the website you think you’re using.
• Always check the URL has a secure https:// address even if you don’t have tabs open on the browser.
• If the URL looks suspicious in any way, close the tab and reopen it by entering the correct URL again.
• Avoid leaving tabs open which require you to type in secure login details. Don't open any tabs while doing online banking - open new windows instead (CTL + N).
• Finally, take a look at Online banking: How to stay safe to find out other ways to protect yourself from online scams.
By Jane Baker

Friday, June 4, 2010

Big Sister becomes Big Brother

Bluemoon Investigations evolved when its sister company, a financial institution, dealing exclusively with corporate clients, established an in-house team, to deal specifically with investigating the circumstances of defaulting clients.

Whilst some business had genuine cash-flow problems (we’re talking well before the current economic downturn and recession), others cited this as a reason, with no justifiable reason to do so. Perhaps comfortable in the knowledge that the expensive and protracted legal process of pursuing debtors through the courts, at the very least bought them time, and at best would result in the loan being written off by the creditor. Unfortunately some creditors, especially during the so called Celtic Tiger years, took the view that recovering the debt, was simply not worth the hassle or time, when they could be chasing new business. This approach compounded the problem for other creditors.

Therefore Bluemoons big sister became big brother and began to look into the financial position of not just the debtor in question but also the Directors who had provided personal guarantee’s. Armed with this knowledge the business could then prioritise the debtors it needed to vigorously pursue through legal channels.

There is no doubt that whilst more recently the economic conditions has led to an increase in defaulting debtors, it has also led to an increase in the number of debtors alluding to these circumstances as a convenient way to hold on to their cash. Bluemoon’s investigations led to some startling discoveries. In approximately 90% of cases where Directors metaphorically stuck up the two fingers, it transpired that their lifestyles did not match the poverty stricken tale of woe they pleaded. Quite often Mercedes and Jeeps littered the drives of their mansions and (requisite) holidays homes. It seems whilst these individuals are more than happy to enjoy the benefits of the boom, they now have trouble adjusting their living standards accordingly and expect their creditors to carry the can for their excesses.

Fortunately the Commercial Court is now becoming much less tolerant of this type of behaviour and it cannot be take for granted that assets previously protected such as family homes and pension plans, will continue to be afforded any protection. This is good news for Creditors.

Bluemoon Investigations now offers its services to Corporate clients, the legal profession and the general public, providing a wide range of investigative services. Annie Murphy of Bluemoon Investigations regularly engages in investigation into the backgrounds of debtors on behalf of Bluemoon’s clients. Annies advises that these “pre-sue status enquiries” are becoming increasingly popular as they provide creditors with invaluable information for a relatively modest cost. “Once the Creditor has been furnished with the facts they can make an informed decision on the action required”. Annie also welcomes the new hardline approach adopted by the courts “Creditors can be confident that when judgement is issued against the debtor and they know assets exist from which they can be repaid, the court will take these assets, if the debtor does not comply”. This sends a much needed clear message to debtors, which is long overdue”

Friday, May 28, 2010

Has the fairytale come to an end?

Recent coverage in the media would suggest that there’s no such thing as a “fairytale” marriage, and moreover, that even the most, seemingly “solid” relationships can hit the skids...

There are those of us (collectively known as “cynics”), who consider the idea of any relationship being so idyllic as to be akin to a story-book romance totally unbelievable.

However, for many believers of the celebrity love-story, the recent tales of woe serve as a rude awakening.

Within the last week, the apparently “squeaky clean” Boyzone-frontman, Ronan Keating, hit the headlines following his wife, Yvonne’s discovery of some very questionable texts. So questionable were these mobile communications, Yvonne “booted Ronan out” (to quote one particular red-top). It seems that this will be another case of “irreconcilable differences”!

In the less-surprising stakes, soon-to-be Ms. Cheryl Tweedy (again) has just filed for divorce from her cheating hubby, Ashley Cole. Whilst they did not have the happiest union, Cheryl did seem to want to fight for their love (ahem)... however Mrs. Cole had enough when bad-boy Ashley didn’t seem to want to repay the favour and stick with just the one woman.

So, given the regularity with which these similar scenarios appear to play out, is there anyone out there with advice for those of us fearing the worst about our partners?

Annie Murphy of Bluemoon Investigations is well-acquainted with those who fear their partner has cheated, “often, it’s just a sense the person has – a gut-feeling”. Annie advises that this “gut feeling” or intuition is not often wrong “we get a lot of phone-calls from women who just know that something is not right – patterns of behaviour have changed – that sort of thing. They’re often concerned about not wanting to get themselves or others, especially children, caught up in the situation, so will contact us for assistance.”

Friday, May 7, 2010

Identity Theft

Identity theft is a real issue, your identity and personal information are valuable. Criminals can find out your personal details and use them to open bank accounts and get credit cards, loans, state benefits and documents such as passports and driving licenses in your name. Identity theft and fraud affects often forms part of more serious criminal operations such as people trafficking and drug smuggling.

Identity crime definitions

Identity Theft and Identity Fraud are often used very loosely to describe any situation in which personal details are misappropriated for gain.

Identity Crime -This is a generic term for identity theft, creating a false identity or committing identity fraud.

False Identity - This is a) a fictitious (i.e. invented) identity, or b) an existing (i.e. genuine) identity that has been altered to create a fictitious identity.

Identity Theft -This occurs when sufficient information about an identity is obtained to facilitate identity fraud, irrespective of whether, in the case of an individual, the victim is alive or dead. Identity theft can result in fraud affecting consumers' personal financial circumstances as well as costing the government and financial services millions of pounds a year. Identity theft is also known as impersonation fraud. It is the misappropriation of the identity (e.g. name, date of birth, current or previous addresses) of another person without their knowledge or consent.

Identity Fraud - This occurs when a false identity or someone else’s identity details are used to support unlawful activity, or when someone avoids obligation/liability by falsely claiming that he/she was the victim of identity fraud. Identity fraud involves the use of an individual or a company’s identity information to open accounts, fraudulently obtain social security benefits, (in the case of individuals), apply for credit and/or obtain goods and services. Identity fraud can be described as the use of that stolen identity in criminal activity to obtain goods or services by deception. Stealing an individual’s identity does not, on its own, constitute identity fraud and this is an important distinction.

Tips on how to protect yourself-

  • · Keep your personal information safe and secure at all times preferably in a locked drawer

  • · Do not carry debit or credit cards unnecessarily, store them in a safe place. Keep a note of the emergency numbers you should call so if they become lost or stolen you can contact the supplier immediately.

  • · Always check bank and other statements as soon as they arrive and query any unfamiliar transactions immediately.

  • · Periodically obtain a copy of your credit file from one of the credit reference agencies – this will enable you to check which financial institutions have accessed your details. It is particularly important to do this a few months after you move house as fraudsters may have obtained and used documentation sent to your old address.

  • · If you live in a property shared with other people who may be able to access your mail, arrange to collect new bank cards from the branch.

  • · Always shred (or destroy) unwanted bills, invoices, credit and debit card slip, banks statements and other unwanted post which includes your name and other details.

  • · When you have to give your card details or personal information over the phone, Internet or in a shop, make sure other people cannot hear or see your personal information.

  • · Never give personal or account details to anyone who contacts you unexpectedly.. Ask for their phone number, check it is genuine and, if so, call them back. Be aware that a bank will never ask for your PIN or for a whole security number or password. Keep them secure.

  • · Don't use the same password for more than one account and never use banking passwords for any other websites. Using different passwords increases security and makes it less likely that someone could access any other accounts.

  • · Keep your passwords safe and never record or store them in a manner which leaves them open to theft, such as in your purse or wallet.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Background Screening

How many businesses in Ireland conduct background screening of new employee's? Well the statistics are simply not available, so we don't know. How many businesses should have a background screening policy - well that's easy to answer, every business should have one! The reasons are compelling:

  • Employee theft is at an all time high
  • Identity theft continues to be a concerning issue
  • It is estimated that between 40% and 60% of applicants simply lie or misrepresent their backgrounds on their CV's
  • Fake degrees are very easy to acquire

As an employer you need to be making well informed decisions when recruiting new staff. Bluemoon can help with background screening, please contact us for a free no obligation consultation.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Are you unwittingly creating an Environment for Embezzlement?

In the previous post, we listed the main motivations for fraud. However there needs to also be 'the opportunity' for fraud and embezzlement to be carried out. Opportunity is created when there is either an absence or weaknesses in internal control. The following factors enhance the probability of employee committing fraud or embezzlement.

  • Inadequate rewards
  • Inadequate internal controls
  • No separartion of duties or audit trails
  • Ambiguity in job roles, duties, responsibilities, and areas of accountability
  • Failure to counsel and take administrative action when performance levels or personal behaviours fall below acceptable levels
  • Inadequate operational reviews, lack of timely or periodic audits, inspections, and follow-up to ensure compliance with company goals, priorities, policies, procedures, and governmental regulations
  • Inadequate training on legal, ethical and security issues
  • Inadequate company policies
  • Failure to monitor and enforce policies on honesty and loyalty

Adapted from; Corporate Crime Investigation; Bologna & Shaw

As an employer, do you suspect you are the victim of fraud and/or embezzlement. If so feel free to contact Bluemoon Investigations, in total confidence, for a free no obligation consultation.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Reasons for Fraud in the workplace

A study revealed that the motivations of the perpetrators of occupational frauds and abuses were as follows:

  1. Living beyond their means
  2. An overwhelming desire for personal gain
  3. High personal debt
  4. A close association with customers
  5. Feeling pay was not commensurate with responsibility
  6. A wheeler-dealer attitude
  7. Strong challenge to beat the system
  8. Excessive gambling habits
  9. Undue family or peer pressure

Source; Detering fraud; The Internal Auditor's Perspective:Albrecht;Howe:Romney

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Signs of a Cheating Partner

There are many why your partner may be unfaithful. Here are some of the reasons why a partner C.H.E.A.T.S

C- Close/ dependency on someone else. Your partner may become close to someone, often a work colleague. They may feel they are not getting enough attention at home and may even believe their actions are justified. At Bluemoon we have come across many situations where men have cheated shortly after the arrival of a new baby.

H – Hedging bets. Perhaps your partner believes your relationship is about to end and they embark on their ‘next’ relationship.

E -Emotional distance from partner , lack of trust. Where this exists in a relationship there can be a lack of motivation to resolve problems, this may lead to your partner cheating.

A- Attracted. Your partner may cheat because they are attracted to someone else

T- The opportunity. There may not be a major problem with your relationship, your partner may cheat simply because they do not believe they will get caught or that you will find out.

S-Substances. The use of alcohol or drugs may be a contributory factor in your partner cheating.

Word of advice

Always trust your intuition if you feel there is something amiss and that your partner could be cheating, - then you are probably right. If you are in this situation, Bluemoon can help you. Contact us for a free no obligation consultation

Monday, March 29, 2010

You've got to pick an office or two!!

Employee theft: not as obvious as you’d think!

What springs to your mind when you think of employee theft? Light-fingered staff pinching a few pens? Petty cash being raided?

More recently, in a wider and more devastating context, the general public has witnessed the impact of directorial theft and fraud in some of the largest financial institutions. Sadly, it appears that this type of theft can be more easily managed and indeed hidden, by the perpetrators.

The American based IFPO (International Foundation for Protection Officers) state that “75% of all employees steal from their employers at least once throughout their careers. The same statistics show that at least half of these 75% steal multiple times from their employer”. Of itself, this is a terrifyingly high statistic, irrespective of the extent or cost of the theft.

Employee theft can take many forms, some of which may not be clearly obvious; these are some of the more common types of theft:

  • Cash - this is most commonly stolen asset according to the IFPO, so this is not just a problem for the retail sector. Can include kickbacks and overstated expenses.
  • Time -being paid for time not worked, through falsifying time cards / records – or by simply not attending to assigned duties during the course of work.
  • Supplies / Merchandise / Stock
  • Information /Product design / trade secrets etc- usually sold to competitors.
  • Skimming, unrecorded sales and overcharging customers but recording the correct prices in the accounts.

So, what are the options for the business-owner or manager who fears that theft may be occurring in their company? Strong procedure and internal audit processes from the outset can deter and prevent internal theft, however sometimes this can be thought of at a point in time when theft has or is already taking place.
Private Investigator, Annie Murphy of Bluemoon Investigations suggests reviewing the perceived action and applying a suitable method of investigation “Bluemoon often deal with these type of situations for our corporate clients, no two investigations are alike and a relevant tailored approach is adopted in each case. This usually involves surveillance, whether it be physical or electronic. Workplace investigations can be complex with huge potential for legal liability, it is therefore vital that employers call in the professionals as soon as possible to deal with these situations”.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

"Duvet Days"

Would it shock you to know that roughly 83 percent of sick days from work are due to “feigned” illness? If you thought that was a high figure, how about €4 billion estimated in absence costs each year...
Last year ISME produced a survey highlighting the impact and costs associated with high “fake” absence within the group of companies surveyed. It makes for concerning reading, now more than ever, considering the economic landscape we currently inhabit. While industrial disputes continue within the public sector as a result of the weighty pay cuts and taxation increases, it’s now paramount to the private business to take a rigorous approach to the management of sick leave.
While effective absence management policies usually prevent or curtail “sickies”, it’s not always easy to determine whether cases are genuine or not. HR and Line Management can find themselves grappling with over-zealous GPs readily doling out medical certs, or superb acting skills displayed by staff.
Often companies will employ a tracking system, which observes the frequency of absence, and any emergent patterns. There are sometimes very genuine cases which require management, and sadly, there are also many disingenuous “sickies” which also have to be managed.
The availability of hints and tips online
– regarding how to successfully convince your manager that you are ill, often leaves companies with no choice but to employ external assistance.
At Bluemoon Investigations, we regularly undertake investigative assignments relating to employee absence and long-term illness cases. But when there are now resources out there which assist people in, effectively, taking unauthorised time off through fake illness, this is making it harder for HR departments and Management to crack down on this behaviour”.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bright Sparks don't cheat.......

It seems that the word “stupid” can now be scientifically attributed to cheating spouses... specifically husbands!
Over the past week, several newspapers have covered Dr. Satoshi Kanazawa’s research into fidelity as an evolutionary practice. In essence, this novel research by the LSE’s Dr. Kanazawa, suggests that entering an exclusive relationship is an “evolutionary novel” development, based on the fact that throughout evolutionary history, men have always been “mildly polygamous”.
According to Dr. Kanazawa’s research, intelligent men are more likely to adopt what in evolutionary terms are new practices - to become “more evolved”. The same theory does not apply to womenfolk because they have always been expected to be faithful to one mate... even in polygamous societies.
Private Investigator Annie Murphy of Bluemoon Investigations says that these assertions stack-up, in terms of marital investigation queries “without a doubt, we receive far more phone-calls from wives than husbands, seeking investigative services for their spouses – and sadly, their suspicions are generally proven right”. The figures add up too, “since we started this business, on average, we’ve noted that 85% of women who feel their partner is cheating are correct, while men are usually around the 50% mark”.
Given the recent spate of celebrity cheaters out there, we’re guessing people like Annie might be quite busy – “well, unfortunately for those affected, we don’t see much variance in the amount of marital investigation – as in, it very rarely decreases... we haven’t taken on any celebrity investigations... yet! This new research might open a new line of business for us though – pre-marital screening, including an IQ test perhaps?!”.

Once in a Bluemoon

Once in a Bluemoon, you might need a private investigator....
Ever needed something definitively confirmed for you? Or wondered if you were right in a suspicion you had? Perhaps someone has suggested “you should get a P.I. onto that!”?

There’s a chance that when you heard the words “P.I.”, you’ve thought of a smoky darkened office, and an interesting, if slightly reprehensible individual sitting at a desk wearing a trench-coat and trilby hat?

Thankfully today there are options outside of the sometimes-dubious one-man-band P.I., including the newly launched Bluemoon Investigations, a professional investigative service provider, based in Dublin with national coverage.

Bluemoon has worked extensively for private corporate entities, gaining experience and technique in a wide-range of situations and tasks. It is with this wealth of knowledge that they have opened to the general public, legal, insurance and commercial / corporate clients. Bluemoon’s team of investigators come from professional backgrounds and have all been trained and accredited in the latest investigative procedures and methods.

The services offered by Bluemoon cover everything from surveillance and tracing to polygraphs, and a full listing is available on their website. The key to their service is that it is a “bespoke” one, tailored to the client. Bluemoon pride themselves in offering a discrete, confidential and professional service, and operate by a strict code of ethics.

If you would like more information – please contact Bluemoon on 01 2311033 or /

Monday, March 1, 2010

About Bluemoon Investigations Ireland

Bluemoon Investigations offers a broad range of Investigative services in a friendly, discreet, professional and ethical manner, throughout the Republic of Ireland.

Bluemoon Investigations Ireland is a member of the highly successful Bluemoon Group of private investigation companies. The Bluemoon group was formed in 1980 and is well established with extensive industry contacts and can draw on a wide range of specialist services.

Bluemoon has 10 years experience operating in Ireland, through working exclusively for private corporate clients. We are a nationwide detective agency with a local presence. Please be assured that when you deal with Bluemoon Investigations you will receive a professional, thorough, discreet service.

We can advise on the best solution and our comprehensive range of services are designed to suit your personal requirement and budget. Our investigators are highly experienced ensuring you receive reliable accurate results. We offer a wide range of services for the private client including;
  • Matrimonial and Relationship Investigations
  • Domestic and Family enquiries
  • Evidence gathering
  • Surveillance and observation
  • Electronic Surveillance
  • Divorce Enquiries
  • Peace of mind enquiries
  • Adoption enquiries
  • Tracing Domestic staff background checks
  • Nanny Cams
  • Polygraph (lie detector)
  • DNA Paternity testing
  • Semen detection testing
  • General Investigations

Our comprehensive services also cater for the Legal profession, Corporate and Commercial clients and include:

  • Tracing absconding debtors
  • Fraud examinations
  • Competitor intelligence
  • Test purchasing
  • Lifestyle checks
  • Employee sickness investigations
  • Stauts enquires
  • Tracing beneficiaries
  • Process serving
  • Locating assets
  • Evidence gathering
  • Compensation claim enquiries
  • Claims investigations

PLease feel free to contact us for a free no obligation consultation. You can contact us in confidence by either telephone or email

Mulgrave Street, Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin

Telephone: 01 231 1033e