Things are not always what they seem – just ask Eliot Spitzer.

In our daily consulting lives, we teach corporations to “expect the unexpected’, that way, you will not be caught off-guard. The announcement yesterday afternoon that the former Attorney General (8 years) and New York State Governor (1 year), Eliot Spitzer was being investigated for his part in a prostitution ring caught a lot of people off guard.

A crooked politician getting his hand caught in the proverbial cookie jar has become so common over the years that it is hardly worth the raising of an eyebrow anymore – unless they are running for president, of course. It is a different story however, when the politician happens to be a tough “take-no-prisoners” crime fighter – especially one who had a reputation for coming down hard on organized crime.

Eliot Spitzer getting caught (of course he is innocent until proven guilty, but his statement yesterday makes no mention of innocence claiming that he: “acted in a way that violated my sense of right and wrong”.)in a prostitution scandal is akin to the head of the DEA getting busted buying crack cocaine on a street corner or Batman “swooping” down on to the street to steal an old lady’s handbag.

What lesson can we learn from this? To me, it is that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. The Spitzer case is way “over the top” to what most of us will come across in our daily lives but it does teach us to keep our eyes open and look beneath the surface. If you are a business owner or a hiring manager, how many times have you hired someone because they looked “nice” or you had a “good feeling” about them? I hear that quite a lot.

Remember, a conman or conwoman, succeeds at what they do by lulling you into a false sense of security in order to achieve their goal. In other words, they “con” you. The con may be to get a job and once there they will steal your clients or fake an accident and go out on workman’s comp. I currently have a case where we are investigating somebody for a client who landed a six figure a year salary and on the third day, they had an “accident” and spent the next several months laying around their apartment cashing checks.

If someone as “untouchable” as a State Governor can fool us, then a future employee, vendor, internet scam artist or street pick pocket can also do it. Protect your assests and safeguard your future.

While you’re at it, expect the unexpected.

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