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Check It Out - Everyone's Guide to Investigation.

Author: Edmund J. Pankau, CPP

Publisher: Cloak & Data Press, PO Box 131016, Houston, TX 77219; 1990, 131 pages, softback: $19.95

Reviewer: Frank E. Krzeszowski, Corporate Security Manager for Continental Insurance in New York and Vice Chairman of the ASIS Standing Committee on Insurance Fraud

As security professionals are well aware, the term "investigation" can encompass a wide range of activities and endeavors. Each specialized field may require its own unique investigative techniques. It would therefore be impractical for any author to present in a single volume a guide to all investigations.

However, despite the differences in the various types of investigations, all share-at least in part-a common goal: They aim to develop relevant and reliable information concerning the individual or entity that is the subject of the investigation.

The gathering of such information is referred to as background investigation, a topic that can be readily addressed in a single, comprehensive volume such as Check It Out. The book is a clear, practical, step-by-step guide written by a knowledgeable and skilled practitioner.

As Pankau points out, the typical individual's daily life is filled with numerous business and personal relationships: hiring a new employee, taking on a new partner, purchases from vendors, sales to customers, or romantic courtships.

Every person is routinely faced with the decision of whether to initiate, continue, or terminate a relationship. Often such decisions are based on little more than intuition. Without the complete facts on which an informed decision can be based, an unsuspecting person can be readily duped and victimized in any relationship.

The book points out that the odds of becoming a victim in a relationship can be greatly reduced if a person first secures and analyzes relevant information from an independent and objective source.

A wealth of objective information exists in publicly available records maintained by public and private organizations and agencies. For the most part these records are easily accessible and can provide the complete background information that is sought.

Throughout the book, Pankau guides the reader through the maze of organizations and agencies that maintain these public records, often citing multiple sources for the same type of information. He itemizes the types of information typically contained in each record and explains how to interpret and use the information as a source for additional investigative leads.

Re book is not written solely for the professional investigator. Rather, it is written largely for the layperson, and die. material is presented in a fashion that can be used by anyone without any prerequisite investigative experience, skills, or contacts.

The professional investigator should not ignore this book, though, because despite the approach, the emphasis is clearly on professional investigative techniques that will produce quality, professional results.

Check It Out addresses the basics of background investigations, such as how to decipher and use a social security number and how to lawfully obtain an unlisted telephone number. It also addresses more advanced topics, such as how to identify and locate potential witnesses or suspects.

The reader may be amazed by the vast amount of information crammed into 131 pages. Each point is covered completely and concisely. The reader may find that he or she is repeatedly referring to it as a reference text, and the book's format lends itself easily to this use.

This book deserves a place in every security professional's bookcase. However, for the active field investigator, it's likely that it will find a permanent home closer at hand, in that investigator's briefcase.
COPYRIGHT 1991 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Krzeszowski, Frank E.
Publication:Security Management
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 1991
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