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Interviewing Witnesses By Personality Type: Part I: The Narcissist.

narcissist

Our obvious objective in interviewing witnesses is to obtain a statement.  To that end, a successful interview is often based on the investigator’s approach and the better she can assess the subject’s personality, the more effective the interview. Fortunately, most people are cooperative, fairly truthful and possess a normal personality.  There have been quite a number of times, however, when we’ve had to extract information from people whose base nature or personality has been overwhelmingly outside of the normal range.

With these type subjects, it’s the investigator’s people skills that determine whether she will prevail.

In our multiple-part series, we begin this week with tips for interviewing a subject with a narcissistic personality. Because of their compulsive, detail-oriented personality bent, narcissists can actually make very good witnesses – if you know how to handle them.

Definition of a Narcissistic Personality:

Most experts use the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, to diagnose mental conditions and personalities.

DSM-5 criteria for a narcissistic personality include these features:

  • Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  • Exaggerating your achievements and talents
  • Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  • Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
  • Requiring constant admiration
  • Having a sense of entitlement
  • Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
  • Taking advantage of others to get what you want
  • Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others

Description of a Narcissist (from Psychology Today):

Narcissism is often interpreted in popular culture as a person who’s in love with him or herself. It is more accurate to characterize the pathological narcissist as someone who’s in love with an idealized self-image, which they project in order to avoid feeling (and being seen as) the real, disenfranchised, wounded self.

Having the above knowledge, a field investigator should be able to quickly pick up on the subject’s personality during the pre-interview casual conversation we engage in with witnesses to determine where they are “coming from”.

If the investigator has ascertained that she is dealing with a narcissist, the three best basic approaches are:

  1. Provide positive feedback throughout the interview without being disingenuous and overly solicitous.  A narcissist needs to be constantly recognized but, is also suspicious of people who are being nice.
  2. Base the account from the narcissist’s perspective.  As with most people, but more so with a narcissist, people recall best when mentally positioned (though guided imagery) to recall an event from where they were at the moment of occurrence.
  3. Let the subject talk.  Sooner or later, with mild steering, the narcissist, because of the compulsive component of this specific personality, will give you the information necessary to complete a thorough statement.  By his very narcissistic nature, he is exacting with details.  Also, we’ve found that engaging a narcissist in minor physical tasks (such as drawing a diagram of the location of accident or arranging site photos) during interviews, helps defuse excess energy and OCD like behavior.

In the next Bulletin in this series, we will cover, “The Empath” – Does she give a true account of the incident or is she wrapped in the emotion of the moment, clouding her recall?

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

Is Your Loved One A Victim Of Social Media Abuse?

social media

Recently, online news publication, ProPublica, “Journalism for the Public Interest”, posted 36 incidents (from 2012) of elder humiliation and abuse in which workers at nursing homes and assisted-living centers shared photos or videos of residents on social media networks. The incident details come from government inspection reports, court cases and media reports and depict helpless facility-care residents in embarrassing nude or partially nude poses or actually being assaulted.

We noticed that the social media venues began years ago with permanent posts on Facebook and Instagram and graduated today to disappearing (or so they thought) posts on Snapchat.

Several disturbing true incidents cited:

 

Date: March 2014

Facility: Rosewood Care Center

City: St. Charles

State: IL

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report, news story, criminal charges

Social media site: Snapchat

Description: One nursing home assistant recorded another using a nylon strap to lightly slap the face of a 97-year-old resident with dementia. The video was posted on Snapchat. On it, the resident could be heard crying out “Don’t! Don’t!” as the employees laughed. They were fired, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of battery and were sentenced to probation and community service. Ivy Gleeson, the nursing home administrator, told the Chicago Tribune in 2014 that the two women were fired. “In our facility, resident safety is our utmost concern,” Gleeson said. She did not return calls and emails from ProPublica seeking comment.

 

Date: February 2015

Facility: Autumn Care Center (now Price Road Health and Rehabilitation Center)

City: Newark

State: OH

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report

Social media site: Snapchat

Description: Someone from the community called the facility after being disturbed by a nursing assistant’s posting on Snapchat of two residents lying in bed in hospital gowns being coached to say “I’m in love with the coco” (lyrics of a gangster rap song). As the male resident said the words, a banner appeared across his chest that said, “Hahahhahaha omg” with three laughing emoticons; as the female repeated the words, a banner across her chest said, “Got these hoes trained.” The female resident’s son said his mother would have been embarrassed because she had previously worked as a church secretary for 30 years. After facility staff learned of the conduct, they allowed the nursing assistant to complete her shift. The director of nursing said she did not send her home because “she didn’t know the identity of the residents on the video and didn’t feel it was abuse.” The nursing assistant subsequently resigned. “A systemic breakdown in implementing the facility abuse policy was identified,” inspectors wrote. The home’s current owner, Greystone Healthcare Management, took over days after the incident. A spokeswoman said it “provides extensive, on-going training, support and oversight to insure that we provide patient centered care.”

I can’t begin to express the enormous anger I felt in reading the above sickening recounts of elder and infirm abuse. We need to protect our most vulnerable members of society.

So how do we fight back?  Our suggestion is to insist that the nursing home allow your elderly or infirm relative to have a smartphone or laptop in their room. Install LogMein or any other remote access app on the device.  You should be allowed to visually access or record the patient 24/7.   I’m sure the facility will cite privacy issues but the question is –   for whom? Is their concern for our relative’s privacy or their private actions with our relative?

Feel welcome to provide us feedback.  We will all get old (as my Dad used to say, if we are lucky) and will be in positions where we will need the help of others.  Now is the time to ensure proper monitoring of our elderly, sick or injured while we face the issue head on.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

Can’t Find Your Client? A Witness? or the Defect?? 5 Proactive Steps to Avoid These Problems

lost and found

Every attorney has his/her own intake survey (generally varying by incident type) and method of working a case.  Below are several situations that our investigators have experienced in the field, and recommendations based on these incidents.  We hope these observations serve a proactive purpose in case management as it applies to clients, witnesses and evidence.

1. Your client’s emergency contacts.

Situation: On numerous occasions we’ve had to locate a client who has moved without notifying his/her attorney.

Recommendation:  Obtain the complete contact information of at least 2 relatives and 2 friends NOT living with the client.  (Drilling deeper,  obtain the DOBs of the emergency contacts.  This may appear to be a rather aggressive suggestion but,  at least 2 of these 4 contacts should be 25 – 59 years old.  Generally, adults within this age range are employed and therefore, more easily trackable than those younger or retired.  Obtain an email address as these are often traceable. )

 

2.  The witnesses.

Situation: I’m sure you’ve all seen a PAR (Police Accident Report) w/a witness listed as “Johnny, 917-555-1234”. (or same, similarly incomplete police report).   No address, no surname and a cell phone that may or may not be active in 2 weeks, let alone 2 years.

Recommendation(s):  1. Call “Johnny” immediately.  Obviously,  the first objective is to determine his knowledge of events regarding your client’s matter.  2. Obtain his contact information and an identifier.  (Again we suggest DOB.  Many people are reluctant to release their SSN.)  3. Obtain an emergency contact for him.   4.  Check the contact info every 6  months until the case achieves resolution.

 

3. Professional photographs of the accident scene, especially if citing defect or disrepair. 

Situation:   Several years ago, we had an exterior premises  trip and fall situation wherein we were called to investigate the scene approximately 4 months post-incident.  The injured person made several natural and unintentional mistakes: 1. Not realizing the extent of his injuries, he did not call 911.  There were no on-site witnesses and no responder witnesses, and  2. When he returned a week or so later, after receiving medical attention, he’d taken photos of the accident scene but the shots contained shadows running across the defect rendering it difficult to determine the exact nature and severity of the  defect.   He was to go back and re-shoot the scene but did not.  4 months later, no defect, no repair record.  The building owner, of course <eye roll>, knew nothing.  Good luck with an area canvass among usually non-cooperative neighbors.

Recommendation: Send out a professional to photograph the accident scene ASAP.  Don’t expect the client to return and accurately record the scene.  Bear in mind, however, that the defect may have permanently “disappeared” and there may not always be a repair record.

From our good friend, http://www.stus.com:

 car accident

4.  If it seems weird; it probably is.  Check all possible contributory factors.

Situation:  Claimant fell UP the stairs.  She wasn’t carrying bags, wore flat shoes; no drugs or alcohol were involved.  No defects, liquids or debris on the ground.

Recommendation: Measure everything.  After taking detailed step and rail measurements, we realized that a) the steps were unequally sized – from the height between them to the protruding lip of each step (which was excessive at the point where she was caused to trip) and b) the rail would have been out of reach from her position regardless, with no secondary wall rail in place.   Rarely do people slip, trip or fall for no reason (unless there is an underlying medical condition).

 

5. Always check to see if drugs and alcohol were involved. (Defense)

Situation:  Building maintenance crew member claims to have fallen off of a defective ladder.  The ACR showed extremely high bp readings; 3 taken at 15 minute intervals by responding EMS – well above the readings that would be expected even in a  such a stressful situation.

Recommendation: Check the medical history.  The individual was on Lipitor and had not taken his medication as prescribed for several days preceding his fall.  (He’d also commented to several co-workers earlier on the day of incident that he was feeling “dizzy”.)  There was absolutely nothing wrong with the ladder, the area surrounding it, nor was he working at a height requiring specialized safety equipment.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

The Three Biggest Security Threats We Face In 2016

hacker

 

Welcome, 2016 and here come the security threats!

Extortion Hacks

2014 brought us the Sony hack wherein millions of confidential records, including internal emails between corporate executives – that revealed the still-thriving prejudices that exist in Hollywood  – were illegal, electronically obtained and released to the public.  Because they (the hackers) could.

2015 progressed to extortion hacks; nimble-fingered computer criminals accessed private client information from Ashley Madison hack, taking down a CEO and exposed possibly millions of would-be cheaters to public ridicule and worse; and then the hack of InvestBank in the United Arab Emirates, which resulted in the exposure of customer account information.

Extortion hacks play to the deepest fears of companies and top executives everywhere.  If mishandled, company secrets run the risk of exposure, clients can file lawsuits and these very executives stand to lose their jobs. 2016 will see a massive rise in extortion hacks with astronomical demands.

 

Data Change/Manipulation Attacks

From Wired:

In testimony this year, James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, told Congress that cyber operations that change or manipulate digital data in order to compromise its integrity—instead of deleting or releasing stolen data—is our next nightmare. Mike Rogers, head of the NSA and US Cyber Command said the same thing. “At the moment, most [of the serious hacks] has been theft,” Rogers said. “But what if someone gets in the system and starts manipulating and changing data, to the point where now as an operator, you no longer believe what you’re seeing in your system?”

Data sabotage can be much more difficult to detect than the kind of physical destruction caused by Stuxnet. That’s because data alterations can be so slight yet have enormous consequences and implications. Anyone remember the Lotus 1-2-3 bug back in the 90s that would produce accounting miscalculations in spreadsheets under certain conditions? That was an unintentional error. But attackers could get into financial and stock-trading systems to alter data and force stock prices to rise or fall, depending on their aim.

Certain types of data manipulation could even result in deaths. In 1991 a Patriot missile in Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War failed to intercept an incoming Scud missile due to a software glitch in the weapon’s control computer, allowing the Scud to hit an Army barracks and kill 28 soldiers. Again, this was an unintentional bug. But Chinese spies have invaded numerous US defense contractor networks in the last decade, raising concern among US military officials that they’re not just stealing blueprints to copy weapons, but might also alter or insert code to sabotage the integrity of weapons systems and change how they operate.

 

Chip and Pin Credit Card Hacks

From Tripwire:

Over the course of the last decade, major credit card companies have begun to implement EMV or “chip and pin” technology. This system requires that a card reader retrieve the customer’s information off of their card’s magnetized chip, which is followed by the cardholder entering in their PIN number.

As a result, chip and pin essentially constitutes a method of two-factor authentication (2FA) for payment card purchases. It is an added security measure that is designed to prevent credit card fraud if a card is physically stolen, so it is natural that VISA, Mastercard and others would switch to EMV technology – even despite the fact that many companies were just recently unprepared for the transition.

I just received my credit and bank EMV-embedded cards.  As the Tripwire article mentions, many merchants are still unprepared to process these cards but that’s the least of worries.  Given that 69% of most purchases utilizing these cards now occur online, the one-time code per transaction is irrelevant as neither the card or a PIN is required for online purchases.  So we are back to cyber criminals simply stealing the card numbers.

The good news is that law enforcement agencies are hiring in record numbers those with anti-hacking experience!

Be smart:  buy via trusted online vendors or use secure purchase transaction portals such as PayPal.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

 

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