We frequently forget the lessons learned as a child. If we want a cookie from the counter, sliding a chair across the kitchen floor is not the best method for concealing our actions. The noise a chair makes resonates throughout the house, alerting parents of our activity. And the stupidity defense of, “I was getting a cookie for you,” relies on how you deliver the message, not on the facts. A simple probing of the motive crumbles most cookie conspiracies.
Yet, as we become older, the same flimsy technique works! We ignore the telltale noise of chairs scraping across the floor in everyday speak. We listen but we do not hear the deception.
When confronted with evidence that might indicate guilt, truthful people respond directly and believe the evidence will prove their innocence. They reply to questioning in the following manner: “I did not do that.” Deceptive people respond indirectly: “That is not something I would do,” “What makes you think I did it?” Notice in the first truthful response how the individual responds directly to the question. Truthful people believe the evidence will ultimately prove their innocence.
Deceptive people want to know upon what evidence you are relying so that they can defeat or deflect its trajectory. Notice in the two deceptive responses, “That is not something I would do,” “What makes you think I did it?” that neither response constitutes a lie. Similarly, both replies are unresponsive to the initial question of “Did you do it?”
Fraudsters prefer to be deceptive rather than lie. This way they maintain a fallback position of “I never lied to you” when pressed for answers in the face of additional evidence. By tuning your ears to listen to this type of misplaced response to direct questions, you can sharpen your investigative skills. When you hear this type of response, ask more detailed questions and listen for the responses. Do the responses produce anxiety in the individual? If so, ask more questions.
Remember, no matter how flatteringly delivered, the chair scraping slowly across the floor is not someone getting you a cookie!
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