12 Ways to Tell When Someone is Lying (in Addition to the Ones You Should Already Know!)

Face-to-face, on the phone or online, how you can tell if a person is lying to you: Internet Scambusters #335

Today’s issue is a bit different: it’s about how to tell if
someone is lying to you.

Lying is at the heart of pretty much every scam. Often, our
gut instinct lets us know when something is untrue but there
are lots of other giveaways as well.

It may be in body language, tone of voice or just protesting
innocence too strongly.

Assuming you’re already aware of some of the most common clues
for lying used in scams, this week we’ve put together a list
of 12 additional “lying signals” you can be on the lookout for.

First though, we recommend you check out the most popular
articles from our other sites during the past week:

What Type of Chase Credit Card Personality Do You Have? Let your
personality help clue you in on having the href="http://www.creditcardwhizkid.com/2009/04/what-type-of-chase-credit-card-personality-do-you-have.html"
target="_blank">right Chase credit card in your wallet.

A Brand New Way to Get Extra Fresh Local Produce and
Meat — For Yourself or as a Gift
: Find out a new way you can reap the benefits of href="http://www.wowgiftideas.com/csa_shares_bring_summers_bounties_to_your_table.html"
target="_blank">fresh local produce and meat all summer long.

How to Vacation for Less: Tips you need to know to href="http://www.consumersavvytips.org/how_to_vacation_for_less.html"
target="_blank">spend less money on vacations this spring and
summer.

Three Top Job Resume Myths: Don’t let these href="http://www.mythbusters.com/three-top-job-resume-myths.html"
target="_blank">common job resume myths hamper your career
advancement.

On to today’s main topic…


12 Ways to Tell When Someone is Lying
(In Addition to the Ones You Should Already Know!)


When it comes to lying, scammers take the biscuit. After all,
it’s at the heart of pretty much everything they do. A scam
is, quite literally, a deception. And a deception is a lie.

So wouldn’t it be just great if we could always tell when
people were lying to us?

Well, there’s a whole science and probably a library of books
built around the subject.

And we have machines — polygraphs or lie detectors — that
are supposed to be able to show when a person is lying.

However, these are certainly not foolproof. Saying whether
someone is lying or telling the truth is about as risky as
forecasting next week’s weather!

Plus, of course, it’s one thing spotting that someone is lying
when you meet them face to face and quite another when you
can’t see them — either on the phone or online.

So, while recognizing the limitations of lie detection, we’ve
put together a list of 12 clues and signals you can use to
test your suspicion that someone is lying in a potential scam
situation.

Again, these signs are hardly foolproof, but we believe you’ll
find them helpful.

Let’s look at face-to-face meetings first.

  1. The most obvious giveaway when someone is lying is lack of
    eye contact. They’ll look everywhere but at your eyes; their
    own eye pupils may expand (dilate). In fact, they may turn
    their whole body away from you.

  2. In addition, they may use expressions that don’t match what
    they are saying, giving away their anxiety or guilt. Often,
    they use just their mouths to express humor or sadness but the
    rest of their face doesn’t change. And they can switch off
    their phony expressions in the blink of an eye, whereas
    genuine expressions tend to fade slowly.

  3. The rest of their body language may be uneasy — like stiff
    or jerky — and they may touch their face (especially the
    nose) or throat, fiddle with their hair or rub the back of
    their neck (though this is also a sign of embarrassment or
    discomfort).

    Now, let’s move on to common voice signals of lying. These may
    happen in face-to-face encounters or over the phone — and
    there are lots of them. They include:

  4. The voice becomes rapid and/or high-pitched. It may be
    unsteady too. Scammers may speak in a single tone (monotone),
    spluttering out their words, and fail to emphasize pronouns
    like “you” or “I” as we do in normal conversation. They may
    omit the pronouns altogether.

  5. Language becomes stilted. They may use full-out phrases
    like “do not” where most people would say “don’t.” Or they’ll
    repeat a particular phrase when denying it — such as instead
    of saying “I didn’t see it,” they’ll say “I did not see your
    PIN number.”

  6. They pause and stumble if you ask them detailed questions
    on the subject about which they’re lying. They might claim to
    have forgotten the answer or try to change the subject, maybe
    even asking you a question instead.

  7. You may hear noises in the background which contradict
    where or who the person claims to be.

    Finally, let’s examine how to expose people who are lying
    online. This is the most difficult area, since you have no
    visual or verbal cues to help you.

    It’s actually the subject of a government-funded study (called
    “The Dynamics of Digital Deception” — and that’s just the
    short version!).

    This should be no surprise because, with the growth of
    Internet fraud, spurious email and perilous chat rooms, it’s
    probably the biggest lying arena of them all.

    We know for sure, from research, that lying is rampant in
    online dating and friendship services, from the modest fib
    about age and looks (weight for women, height for men
    apparently) to dangerous lying about gender and intentions.

    Again, some of the points we’ve listed above about verbal cues
    to lying apply here — and some of our online tips below may
    also apply to speaking and face-to face encounters. Here they are:

  8. Sometimes they’ll change their answers, give vague replies
    or totally sidestep the issue, especially if you ask the same
    question by email or in chat rooms at different times. It’s a
    good way to test them.

  9. Curious use of language. Often grammar is poor (see our
    scam language article) and explanations are long-winded.
    Research shows that in two-way “conversations” liars use
    “sense” words like “see,” “hear” and “feel” more than would be
    normal. Check out our article:
    Know the Lingo — How to Get Wise to Scam Language.

  10. They become exasperated, sarcastic or even aggressive if
    you challenge their statements or claims, or if you persist in
    asking them questions.

  11. Scammers and deceivers will often add in extra detail in
    an effort to convince you. Strong, long-winded protests of
    truth and innocence are a powerful pointer to lying.

  12. And finally, an offbeat one — the use of spoofs and
    downright lies passed off as genuine stories on websites. You
    can usually spot these from the name of the site, by checking
    out other stories on the same site, or Googling the supposed
    subject.

We’ve taken it as a given, especially with online usage, that
claims that seem too good to be true, stories that are
sensational, pretexts for seeking information that should be
confidential, and selfless claims to be just doing you a
favor, should be highly suspect.

Remember though, now you have all these tips, that the
scammers are just as well aware of them as you. So they try to
get around them by, for instance, forcing themselves to make
eye contact and otherwise controlling their body language.

But very few, if any, are smart enough to be able to get them
all right at once. So keep your eyes peeled and your ears
flapping for those signals. And above all, follow your
hunches. They’re usually right.

Time to close — we’re off to take a walk. See you next week.