Lies have lots of tells. Since you’re my friend, you probably have learned some of the body language of deception. But what about words?
My husband Matt experienced this first hand when we visited Dallas over Christmas. Here’s what happened: We were just finishing up lunch at In-N-Out Burger with the family….there are 8 of us including 2 kids. So it takes a long time and lots of chaos for us to accomplish anything as a group. Once we finally all were loaded the car and counting heads before we left, we noticed my husband Matt wasn’t there. He was talking to a clean cut looking fellow a few yards from the car. What on earth was he doing dawdling around?
He’s not one to strike up a conversation with strangers so when he got in he told us what happened:
He said, that gut walked up to me and said ‘I know this is outta left field but me and my wife are trying to check out of a hotel and are $32.68 short. None of the churches around here will help us. Do you know anywhere I can go to get some help?’ Matt’s not one to help folks like this nor does he know the area so he politely said no and got in the car.
We all had questions like who was this guy? What hotel was he at? What churches did he try? Do churches really give out money? And How long had he been there at the burger place?
Of course we knew his story was a lie. He was just trying for some quick cash. Everyone knows that you pay for a hotel in full as you check in and they usually require a credit card for incidentals.
But to me, the way he told his story was a dead giveaway that his pants were on fire. There were 2 textbook tells.
First, he qualified his story when he said ‘I know this is outta left field but…’. Whenever you hear this and other story qualifiers like ‘You’re not gonna believe this but…. ‘ or ‘I know this sounds strange but…’, don’t believe it. These patterns are a dead giveaway that the next thing they say is a lie.
And second, he was too detailed. Matt never asked how much he needed. He tried to get out ahead of Matt and direct the conversation when he said he needed $32.68. That’s not usually the kind of info you volunteer upfront.
Want to know more about how to detect lies? You’re in luck. On Wednesday Jan 4– That’s this week!! I’ll be doing a free webinar on how to detect lies, fraud and identity theft. It’s part of a series on fraud for financial pros but good info for anyone in business or personal life. So sign up! (I promise it will be short—just 30 min and no big sales pitch. Here’s the link.
So I’ll see you on Wed.
And feel free to go to In-N-Out Burger any time you want. Just hope the person you ask for money from hasn’t been to my webinar! HA!!