Pivot with Jenny Blake
Pivot with Jenny Blake
326: Fool Me Once—How to Avoid Accidental and Righteous Fraud with Kelly Pope

326: Fool Me Once—How to Avoid Accidental and Righteous Fraud with Kelly Pope


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“Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”

—Anthony Weldon in The Court and Character in King James (1651)

Are you an accidental fraudster? An unknowing victim? A righteous whistleblower? The possibilities are closer than you think. Today’s guest, forensic accounting professor Dr. Kelly Richmond Pope, is here to remind us that fraud can happen to—and be committed by—any of us.

Among companies with over $10 billion in global annual revenues, 52% experienced fraud during the past 24 months. Since the pandemic hit, global online fraud has increased by 46%. Even worse, “We regularly miss the red flags that are swatting us in the face.”

Listen in to this conversation to learn why business is a victim hallmark, what makes us susceptible to fraudsters or to committing accidental fraud, and how to get better at spotting red flags.

More About Kelly: Dr. Kelly Richmond Pope is a nationally recognized expert in risk, forensic accounting, and white-collar crime research, and an award-winning educator, researcher, author, and award-winning documentary filmmaker. She is the Dr. Barry Jay Epstein Endowed Professor of Forensic Accounting at DePaul University in Chicago, IL. Her TED Talk entitled "How Whistle-blowers Shape History” has been viewed over 1.6 million times, translated into 20 languages, and serves as a resource to help organizations and individuals embrace internal whistleblowing. She is the author of Fool Me Once: Scams, Stories, and Secrets from the Trillion-Dollar Fraud Industry.

🌟 3 Key Takeaways

  • There are three key players in the fraud universe, each with several sub-types: perps (intentional, accidental, righteous), prey (innocent bystanders and organizational targets), and whistleblowers (accidental, noble, vigilante, crossover).

  • “Busyness is a victim hallmark,” especially among clients who are laser-focused on their businesses and not remotely interested in accounting. You might cut corners, miss details, review bills as thoroughly.

  • The Fraud Triangle: Opportunity, pressure, rationalization (created by criminologist Donald Cressey in the 1950s).

✅ Try This Next: Sign up for an accounting class so you know how to read a financial statement, and can spot red flags more easily. Ignorance is not bliss!

📚 Books Mentioned

🔗 Resources Mentioned

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Pivot with Jenny Blake
Pivot with Jenny Blake
What’s next for your career and creative projects? Pivot with Jenny Blake launched in 2015 to help us better embrace fear, insecurity, imperfection, and intuition as the superpowers they are while pivoting. Join Jenny Blake, award-winning author of Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One, Life After College, and Free Time: Lose the Busywork, Love Your Business, for intimate conversations with authors and friends on finding opportunities in unexpected places through practical tips and tools. Jenny’s motto? If change is the only constant, let’s get better at it. Subscribe now so you don’t miss an episode (released every Sunday) at pod.link/pivotmethod.