The latest thinking and expert insights into the insurance industry.
01 June 2017

Mirror, mirror on the wall: on fact-finding and the motive of the fraudulent client

Psychologist Riekje Stokes (Stokes Verhoor Strategie) works as a trainer and behavioral interview advisor with the Dutch police and insurance companies on improving what she calls ‘fact-finding communication’. This blog is based on her FRAUDtalk of 15 September 2016 about personalized interviewing.



What has Snow White’s ‘mirror, mirror on the wall’ to do with fraud? The link is that the answer of the mirror gives us insight into the motives, the motivation of the perpetrator. The poisoned apple is not the crime, but merely the means to remain the fairest in the land.

This also applies to fraud cases. Nevertheless, until now little attention has been paid to the motive when interviewing fraudsters. You might say, “It is always about the money, isn’t it?”, but is that really true? Everyone has his own motives. These can be divided into three categories: Pleasure, Prestige and, indeed, Pay-out.

Wouldn’t it be great if during the interview, you could just skip the bickering over facts and straightaway take the direct route of the motive? Together with the fraudster as an expert of himself. This means that you will cut to the chase, without cutting off your client.

Following this route of motivation offers extra opportunities in a fraud interview, besides following the factual information.

Pleasure, prestige, pay-out

Take, for example, the interview with a fraudulent customer who sighs at the beginning of the interview: “My biggest problem is that I can’t say no.” In the end, this turned out to be the reason why he repeatedly forged a signature, not just for his own gain, but also so his intermediary could keep his job. What a loss if we were to ignore such a remark that might reveal a possible motive.

Or take the interview you have with a manager about his alleged breach of integrity. Or rather: the interview he has with you. Because he likes to set the rules of the interview himself. He goes to great lengths to explain how important he thinks integrity is and how he selects and directs his employees based on this. And you think: “How can I steer the conversation towards my case?” But you are already there: interestingly, it is precisely this integrity that led to the interview.

Or take the interview with a careerist, in any case in the field of arson. He started off with a fire in a wastepaper basket, then in a garbage container, then in a garbage container against an empty building and eventually in a beautiful home with a family and their livestock. But he is not a pyromaniac, he categorically denies that. When asked, he knows that a pyromaniac always returns to the fire he has started, and he never does that. “Just call me an arsonist”, he says and the interview is underway.

The motive is all in the head 

So how do you achieve tangible results if you follow this route? You need to use the metaphor of the mirror: let the person you are interviewing take a look at himself. A motive is all in the head, so the questioning should also be ‘all in the head’. In other words, about perception and themes in relation to the facts. Themes that match, that make the connection between this specific person involved, this specific case and the possible motives to commit specifically this type of fraud.

Within these themes, ask about the feelings, expectations and/or interests that might be connected with the fraud. Take more time to focus on the personal motive. However, first you need to know what your own motives are. What is your motive to do this work? Why do you choose to drive a certain type of car? Why do you decide to start a relationship, or to end it? You need to know these things about yourself in order to be able to question someone else.

My own motive is that I grew up with lies. This made me turn fact-finding into my career, and also fact-finding communication. I see the benefit and need of developing and employing the personalized interview in this field of fact-finding. It is important that one is able, willing and brave enough to opt for this unusual approach.

Do not let the truth get away 

We really need to understand that the fact-finding triangle consists of the cornerstones person, case and motive. In its center lies the truth. If one of these cornerstones is missing, then the truth gets away. This would mean a missed opportunity.

Walk alongside and together with your clients on the direct route to truth rather than bicker with them over facts and content. Let them take a look at themselves and reflect, and do not only ask yourself how poisonous the apples were, but above all, why they were used. Then you will get to the heart of the matter and a real solution and a reduced chance of recidivism will come within reach.

Contact us

Cookie and Privacy Policy

1. Introduction

When you use this website, FRISS may collect information about your use of the website and the content offered. We believe it is important to handle your (personal) data with due care and confidentiality. When processing your personal data, we comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (Algemene Verordening Gegevensbescherming) and Article 11.7a of the Telecommunications Act (Telecommunicatiewet).

1.1.  Controller

The controller of the processing of personal data is:

FRISS Fraudebestrijding B.V.
Orteliuslaan 15
3528 BA

This processing of personal data is registered with the Dutch Data Protection Authority (Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens) in The Hague under reporting number m00004997.

1.2.  Purposes of data processing

There are several places on our website where you can fill in your (personal) data. We will explain the purposes of the various instances of data processing below.

Filling in the contact form or sending an e-mail

If you fill in the contact form on our website or send us an e-mail, we will only use the (personal) data you provide for the purpose or purposes for which you filled in the contact form or sent the e-mail.

Download form

If you download files on our website (such as e-books, whitepapers or reports), we will use the (personal) data you provide for one or more of the following purposes:

  • for the execution of an agreement, for example to send you the e-book, whitepaper or report you have chosen;
  • for the formation of an agreement, for example by contacting you by telephone or in writing.


If you fill in the application form for the newsletter on our website, your (personal) data will be used to send you the newsletter. Each newsletter contains a hyperlink at the bottom of the message that you can use to unsubscribe.

In addition to the personal data you provide to FRISS yourself, FRISS may collect, record and process additional (personal) data if you use the (web) services of FRISS. This concerns the following personal data:

  • data from the used equipment, such as a unique device ID, version of the operating system and settings of the device you use to access a service;
  • information about the use of a service, such as the time at which you use the service and the type of service that is used;
  • location details from your device or derived from your IP address that is provided to us when you use a particular service;
  • data available from external sources. We may receive information about you from public or commercially available sources.

1.3.  Provision of (personal) data to third parties

Your (personal) data will never be provided to third parties without your permission, unless we have an obligation to do so pursuant to legislation or regulations or you have given permission for this.

1.4.  Security of data

FRISS respects your privacy and ensures that personal data are handled confidentially and with the utmost care. All processed (personal) data is stored exclusively in secure databases. These databases are only accessible to employees of FRISS, to the extent that this access is required by virtue of their position. FRISS makes every effort to secure these systems against loss and/or any form of unlawful use or processing.

1.5.  Inspection, correction and deletion of data and the right to object

You can view your data that is processed by FRISS at any time and free of charge and, if you so wish, modify this data or have it deleted. You can also object to receiving information about products, services or content of FRISS. If you wish to make use of one of these options, you can send an e-mail to the Data Protection Officer of FRISS via privacy@friss.eu or write to the following address:

FRISS | fraud, risk & compliance
Attn. Data Protection Officer
Orteliuslaan 15
3528 BA Utrecht.

2. Cookies

When using this website, information about your use of these services and other websites may be collected by or on behalf of FRISS, for example by means of cookies.

A cookie is a small file that is sent along with pages of a website and stored by your browser on the hard disk of your computer. We use cookies to remember settings and preferences. You can disable these cookies via your browser.

2.1.  The purposes for which FRISS uses cookies

On our website we use cookies for the following purposes:

  • for statistical purposes, in order to analyse the use of FRISS websites. This allows us to keep track of the number of visitors and see which parts of our website are popular. We use Google Analytics in order to track and consult these statistics. On this website you can find explanations about all cookies that may be placed by Google;
  • for what is known as ‘targeting’ purposes, if you have used the download form. By targeting we mean building a profile of you based on your surfing behaviour on our website, after which we may contact you by telephone or e-mail based on the interests you have shown in order to offer you FRISS services that you may be interested in. We use HubSpot in order to track and consult these statistics. On this website you can find explanations about all cookies that may be placed by HubSpot;

3. Changes to this Cookie and Privacy Statement

FRISS may make changes to this Cookie and Privacy Statement. All modifications will be published on this page. We advise you to consult this Cookie and Privacy Statement regularly, so that you are always aware of the content of the current Cookie and Privacy Statement.