Secrets From The FBI: How to Spot a Liar


Signs of stress in body language? No. Avoiding eye contact? No. Touching the nose? No. These are myths of deception. You can never catch a deceit with his/her physical discomfort. There are behaviors that are indicative of psychological discomfort, anxiety, and distress that help nail a liar. LaRae Quy, who spent 23 years as a counter-intelligence agent for the FBI, shares 8 tips to identify people who are deceptive or perpetual liars…

1. Build A Rapport

When it comes to spotting a liar, coming across as empathetic, matters. An empathetic person can read another person’s emotions, tricking the liar to open up more than an aggressive authoritative person who is cold and accusatory. It’s the classic case of ‘good cop vs. bad cop,’ and it always helps to play the one who cares.

2. Surprise The Suspect

Basically, put yourself in the liar’s shoes to sniff out the truth. Compulsive liars with evil intent are mostly well-prepared to con and outsmart you. So when you ask them questions they don’t expect, they stumble.

3. Go Backward

Heard this saying: When you tell the truth all the time, you don’t have to remember anything? And this: When you lie all the time, you support the first lie with a second lie, and before you know it, one small lie snowballs into a giant mash of lies? Truthful people are consistent with their facts and add more details when they repeat their stories – even backward. But deceitful people can never be consistent with their lies; they forget where they started the lie and where it ended. If you suspect someone is being deceptive, ask the person to recall events backward rather than forward in time.

liar14. Keep Your Ears Open

Listening is as important as speaking.  When you listen more and speak less, you tend to only say what needs to be said.  But liars tend to listen less and speak more with unnecessary information to distract, convince, and sway others into believing them, as well as sound legitimate and win over their audience.

Keep in mind: Stress usually makes people speak faster. A stressed person often talks louder. Cracking in the natural tone of voice usually occurs at the point of deception. Repetitive coughing and clearing the throat are signs of tension.

5. Pay Attention To How They Say NO

No means ‘no,’ but how you say ‘no’ is the key. So be cautious when liars: say “no” and look in a different direction; say “no” and close their eyes; say “no” after hesitating; say “noooooooo” stretched over a long period of time; say “no” in a singsong manner.

6. Identify Deceptive Behavior

Be careful if a person: starts speaking formally (happens when the stress levels are high); starts giving exaggerated responses or extreme superlatives; starts forgetting critical things during a conversation; starts responding to questions with short answers, or refuses to provide details when cross questioned.


7. Be Wary Of Compliments

Good actors make good liars. Watch out for someone who is trying too hard to make a good impression. Inauthentic people: agree with you 24×7; shower praises constantly; laugh at all your jokes; keep reminding you of your qualities and talents.

8. Question. Question. Question.

To force the liars to expand their story until they become entrapped in their own web of deceit, ask follow-up questions. Unanticipated, confusing queries makes a liar uneasy; and an uncomfortable scenario is more likely to get you an outcome. For example, when you ask “Explain this gap in your résumé” from an applicant, you may get an answer “I was recuperating from hip surgery”. If you see the applicant as edgy or nervous, take the time to explore further and uncover the white lie.

This article (Secrets From The FBI: How to Spot a Liar) is a free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and


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  1. Absolute nonsense! You can’t use these tactics to know whether or not someone is lying, but instead, to make assumptions, which could be wrong or right. It’s useless information which will cause more problems than not. From what I’ve been noticing, the info on this site, is just twisted.

  2. It’s like, how my family would think that I’m guided by demons just cause i would look to my left every time I contemplated things. Useless info that will likely cause more problems that not.

    • The left side of Your Brian is Swiss cheese and all the holes are full of demons! So stop bidding the truth and just make a sandwich for the family!

    • Nervous people do have these reactions, and they are not myth. To think their a lie because your family desides they know somthing that’s falts about u only makes you the same.and demons,, really. Your family must be desperate for your love and afectionlollollol

  3. What a dreadful item. Incoherent, frequently nonsensical, often simply ungrammatical. Most of it simply means nothing- “Inauthentic people: agree with you 24×7; shower praises constantly; laugh at all your jokes; keep reminding you of your qualities and talents.” What tripe!

  4. Then many veterans, as well as others, living with PTSD would be disqualified. Repeating trauma has many of these characteristics; repressing details, looking away, closing your eyes, since you are picturing events in your mind. Not a good article

  5. Moooooooooooo, Toby and anyone else who wants to argue this, I ask you where you did your research on the topic. The information in the article is a slight rewording of the information in the article linked at the start of this one, which contained information given to the reporter by an ex-Fed who’d been a Fed for 23 years. You’ve got to have one hell of a good source of information to be able to even suggest that someone with 23 years’ experience is wrong and you are right. Sure, there may be a few grammar errors, Toby. Do you expect them to make no errors? They’re only human after all. We all make errors. Can you honestly say that you have never once made a spelling error? No. You even made one in your comment! There’s not even that many errors: the only real ones are the 24×7 rather than 24/7 and the misordering of a comma and an apostrophe. Aside from that, the only thing I can say is they could have used different punctuation in some places, such as using a semi-colon rather than a fullstop in tip 2. You guys keep hating on AnonHQ for doing things wrong when most of the time, you’re just as bad or they’re not even doing anything wrong.

  6. Apparently some of you are being lied too your entire life without knowing it,we could be in shits creek waist deep and i could still feed you turds of a paddle.when a liar is around you,just listen,sit back and watch them tangle themselves in their web.a good ear is all you need


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