A public polygraph warning to all residents, attorneys & businesses seeking polygraph and lie detector services nationwide
Public Service Announcement
If you are seeking polygraph and lie detection services and you don't want to be the victim of fraud, it is imperative that you read this page.
Approximately half of the states in the US do not currently have a law for licensing polygraph examiners, so anyone can buy equipment and tell people that they are a polygraph examiner. They can set up shop even if they have no legitimate training from an accredited polygraph school, have no qualifications to hold any polygraph related position in government nor can they qualify to be a member of any legitimate and recognized polygraph association or organization.
Admittedly, this is a flaw in the polygraph profession, but one that is not likely to change in the near future.
I have been strong-armed by misuse of the legal system to not mention the known names and businesses that are perpetrating fraud nationwide on a daily basis, but I can tell you what you need to know to protect yourself and insure that you are hiring a legitimate, qualified, lie detection professional and not simply being conned.
What follows are two lists:
1. What proof you should ask for to know if the examiner is legitimate and how to verify what is provided.
2. Six common 'Red Flags' that you might be talking to a pseudo examiner whose main goal is to schmooze you and separate you from your money. (These people are not stupid, they are truly con artists, so be careful)
1. What proof you should ask for to know if the examiner is legitimate and how to verify what is provided.
A. Polygraph School - Ask them to email or fax you a copy of their certificate of completion from Polygraph School. VERY IMPORTANT: The only verifiable and legitimate polygraph schools are ones that have been accredited by the American Polygraph Association (APA) and/or the American Association of Police Polygraphists (AAPP). Once you have the document, see if that school is on the list of APA accredited and or AAPP approved schools, which you can find on their respective websites:
After verifying the school is on the list, place a call to that school and ask them to verify the name and date your examiner completed their polygraph program and fax the document to the school director for verification of their signature.
** The only exception to the list of schools above is if a once legitimate school is no longer in operation. There are a few legitimate polygraph schools that have closed down. If you are told this by an examiner, feel free to contact us and we will help verify if the now defunct school was legitimate. Of course, you still should ask for a copy of the certificate of completion.**
B. Polygraph Association Membership - Ask if they are a current member 'in good standing' with a professional polygraph association. If they are, ask them to email or fax you their membership certificate.
Important: Association membership is not an absolute necessity, but it is a plus. Why? Because legitimate polygraph associations require their members to have a certain number of continuing education hours as well as a criminal background check for membership. Once you receive a copy of their certificate, then you need to call that association and verify the information. Most states have one legitimate association per state and there are three legitimate national associations. These are the only groups that are relevant for verification. (phone numbers for each can be found on their respective websites) Below you will find links to the three legitimate national organizations and a link to a page that contains the legitimate state organizations. The cons that are being run also involve shell groups and websites made to appear as legitimate associations, but upon close inspection, you'll find that all those groups lead to one place. The way you can tell the difference is that the legitimate polygraph associations each have individual contact information and a board of real officers holding real positions. You won't find that on the groups running cons. To them its all about appearing to look large and diverse, when a closer look will reveal it to all be a facade. And the easiest way to recognize this is to find a couple of the websites in completely different states and note that their phone numbers and email addresses all lead to one location.
Link to a list of Legitimate State Polygraph Associations
Legitimate National Polygraph Associations
If you have been able to verify both A. Polygraph School and B. Polygraph Association Membership, then you can move on with your decision making process in regards to hiring an examiner. Of course, just because an examiner has both of these does not necessarily speak to the quality of their work. After all, there are thousands of licensed construction contractors out there, but many still do shoddy work. Polygraph is no different and you will want to consider other factors before making a final decision. These two items I've shown here are really just about making sure you are not talking to a complete fraud.
2. Six common 'Red Flags' that you might be talking to a pseudo examiner con artist whose main goal is to schmooze you and separate you from your money
A. Can't or won't provide proof of completing a legitimate polygraph school. Don't accept any stories about losing or no longer having their certificate, they can always get a copy. Also, they may say that they were trained through an online course or manual. THERE IS NOT ONE LEGITIMATE POLYGRAPH SCHOOL for which you can learn online or through a manual purchased online. Why, because learning polygraph is a hands on profession and there is no substitute for the real practicum required in the lab at real polygraph schools.
B. If they tell you that they were 'Preceptor' trained or personally 'one on one' trained by an ex- FBI, CIA, Secret Service or other official government sounding name. Don't be fooled!!! This is a diversionary tactic. They will try to make this sound like they were trained by some Polygraph Ninja Master, which is supposed to make them better than everyone else. Here is what makes this tactic so believable... Preceptor training was at one time a legitimate way to be trained, but that is only because polygraph was in its infancy and there were only a couple of polygraph schools in the country. ALL LEGITIMATE preceptor training ended in the 1960's, so unless this examiner is quite advanced in age (like 70 or older) you can be fairly confident you are being scammed.
C. If they tell you they can give you the test 'over the phone'. If you are offered an 'over the phone' polygraph test, well its NOT a polygraph. That would more than likely be a Voice Stress Test. You can take a voice stress test if you choose, the point I'm making is that the term polygraph is often used to describe any lie detection test, but that is not true. My personal research on voice stress has shown them to be no more reliable than guessing. You can find the studies related to voice stress by visiting http://www.voicestress.org. Again, the point is simply that a polygraph test and a voice stress test are two COMPLETELY different things.
D. If they try to baffle you with how much they have been on television or how great they are and continually avoid or diflect the conversation away from answering direct questions and direct requests for proof of their credentials. The vast majority of television 'reality shows' do nothing to verify the credentials of the examiner they are hiring because they care first and foremost about ratings and entertainment, not about integrity. 95% of what you'll see on television is not how real polygraph works. These fake examiners may also divert you away from facts by criticizing the APA accredited schools and legitimate state polygraph associations, telling you that they just want to charge you a bunch of money and that you won't be any better trained than the way they learned. Outright lying, self grandiosity and diflection are all too common strategies used by these pseudo examiners. Just because someone sounds impressive, it doesn't mean they are honest. GET PROOF OF THEIR TRAINING!
E. If they tell you or it actually happens that your polygraph test can be completed in under 90 minutes. The APA guidelines for all polygraph tests is that it should be conducted in no less than 90 minutes. If they tell you a test can be done faster than this or if you go ahead and hire the person and your test is over in 30 or 45 minutes, you can be certain you've been scammed or at the very least, given a test where short cuts are being taken and the results can likely not be trusted.
F. If at any time you mention that you read on a website somewhere about frauds pretending to be examiners and their response is something along the lines of "That is just a jealous competitor". This phrase or something like it is used often by the frauds to distract you or cast doubt on just who is telling you the truth. I can tell you now, these con artists can be smart, charming and crafty. They have very well rehearsed answers to common questions. The only way to be sure of anything is through verification and proof. So if you feel like you are getting two different messages, ask for the proof. A true examiner will be able to provide it as outlined above. (But even in this...be careful. We have first hand stories of these cons pretending to be the American Polygraph Association. One fake examiner will say they are a member of the APA and when you ask to confirm this, they give you the phone number of another polygraph scam artist who plays along and makes you think they are in the APA office and are verifying the name and membership of the first examiner. There are only two phone numbers for the APA National Office Manager that are legitimate. They are:
Phone: 800-APA-8037 & (423) 892-3992. The national office manager is Robbie Bennett (female). Their website is http://www.polygraph.org. A picture of the current board of directors along with their names and positions can be found http://www.polygraph.org/content/directors-and-committee.
If you are given any other phone number or information for verification of an APA member, you are probably being scammed.
In summary, there is really only one way to know the difference between the polygraph con artist and a legitimate examiner. And that is whether they have graduated from an APA accredited school. I wouldn't put it past these con artists to fake documentation, but they can't fake the school director, so be sure to call the school (as listed on the APA website) and ask for proof that so and so really graduated from their school and fax the documentation to the school director to verify it is really one of their certificates. That may seem like extra work, but if you hire a pseudo examiner, you aren't getting real results anyway, so you are just wasting your money and you are putting your important real life situations in the hands of a con artist.
Ralph is a graduate from the American International Institute of Polygraph (A true polygraph school which is accredited and recognized by the American Polygraph Association and the American Association of Police Polygraphists.)
Ralph Hilliard runs the website polygraphplace.com.
You may contact Ralph @ 678.772.6410 or email firstname.lastname@example.org