Suspects and witnesses regularly reveal much more than lock intend v their selections of words. Below are means to detect feasible deception in written and oral statements. The manager that a rapid food restaurant call the police late at night come report the an armed robber had gone into the restaurant while the manager was alone in the office finishing part paperwork. The manager said the gunman had stolen the entire day"s cash receipts — a little an ext than $4,000. The manager had reported a similar robbery in ~ the restaurant about six month earlier. No other witnesses were current at either alleged robbery. The restaurant owner learns from police investigators that equipped robbery is exceptionally unusual in the bordering neighborhood. Also, the owner knows that the manager"s wages have been garnished for the last year for nonpayment of kid support. The owner rental you, a CFE, come investigate whether the manager is filing false police reports to cover his thefts. You begin your examination by asking the manager to compose a summary of the evening"s events. DETECTING ANOMALIESLinguistic text evaluation involves examining the language, grammar and also syntax a subject provides to describe an occasion to detect any type of anomalies. Proficient investigators space accustomed to examining interview subjects" nonverbal behavior, such together eye contact and hand movement. Message analysis, ~ above the various other hand, considers only the subject"s verbal behavior. Due to the fact that text evaluation evaluates only the subject"s words, investigators can apply it to written and also oral statements. In fact, countless investigators prefer to analysis suspects" written statements for signs of deception before conducting face-to-face interviews.Text evaluation is based upon research originating in the 1970s. Psychologists and linguists studied the language and also word choices of topics in managed experiments and found predictable differences in between truthful and also deceptive statements. Susan Adams, an instructor who taught text analysis (which she referred to as statement analysis) at the FBI Academy for countless years, explained it as a two-part process ("Statement Analysis: What perform Suspects" Words really Reveal?" FBI regulation Enforcement Journal, October 1996). First, investigators recognize what is typical of a truthful statement. Secondly, they look for deviations from the norm. The following section explains deviations that indicate a subject might be withholding, transforming or fabricating information. TEN indicators OF DECEPTION1. Lack of self-referenceTruthful world make frequent use of the pronoun "I" to describe their actions: "I arrived house at 6:30. The phone to be ringing as I unlocked the front door, so ns walked straight to the kitchen come answer it. I talked come my mom for 10 minutes prior to noticing that my TV and computer were missing from the life room." This quick statement has the pronoun "I" four times in three sentences. Deceptive world often use language that minimizes references to themselves. One means to minimize self-references is to define events in the passive voice. 


 "The for sure was left unlocked" fairly than "I left the for sure unlocked."  "The distribution was authorized" quite than "I authorized the shipment." 


Another means to mitigate self-references is to instead of the pronoun "you" for "I." 

Question: "Can friend tell me around reconciling the financial institution statement?"Answer: "You know, you shot to identify all the superior checks and also deposits in transit, however sometimes when you"re really busy you just article the distinctions to the suspense account."In oral statements and also informal created statements, deceptive witnesses sometimes merely omit self-referencing pronouns. Consider this explain by a husband who claims his mam was eliminated accidently: "I choose up the gun come clean it. Relocated it to the left hand to acquire the cleaning rod. Something bumped the trigger. The gun walk off, hitting mine wife." The husband acknowledges in the an initial sentence that he choose up the gun. Yet the 2nd sentence is grammatically incomplete; "I" has been omitted from the start of the sentence. In the third sentence, "something" fairly than "I" bumped the trigger. The statement likewise contains couple of personal possessive pronouns. The witness describes "the" gun and "the" left hand whereby we might expect "my" to it is in used. 2. Verb tense. Truthful civilization usually explain historical events in the previous tense. Deceptive civilization sometimes describe past events as if the events were arising in the present. Explicate past events using the current tense argues that people are rehearsing the occasions in their mind. Investigators have to pay particular attention to points in a narrative at which the speaker move to inappropriate present tense usage. Think about the complying with statement do by one employee claiming the a bag containing $6,000 in cash to be stolen prior to she might deposit it at the financial institution (I have emphasized specific words.):"After closeup of the door the store, I put the cash bag in mine car and drove to the Olympia bank building top top Elm Street. It was raining difficult so I had to journey slowly. I gotten in the parking lot and also drove around earlier to the night depository slot. When I stopped the car and also rolled under my window, a male jumps the end of the bushes and yells in ~ me. I have the right to see the has a gun. That grabs the cash pouch and also runs away. The last I observed him he was headed south on Elm Street. After he to be gone, I dubbed the police on my cabinet phone and reported the theft."The first three sentences describe the employee"s journey to the financial institution in the previous tense. However the next three sentences describe the alleged theft in the existing tense. An alarm investigator can suspect that the employee stole the day"s cash receipts, climate drove come the bank and called the police native the financial institution parking lot come report a phony theft. (See an additional example in "Antics through Semantics" at bottom.)3. Answering concerns with questionsEven liars favor not come lie. Outright lies bring the danger of detection. Before answering a concern with a lie, a deceptive human being will usually shot to avoid answering the concern at all. One common method of dodging questions is come respond with a inquiry of one"s own. Investigators need to be alert come responses such as:


"Why would I steal indigenous my own brother?"  "Do i seem prefer the type of human who would perform something like that?"  "Don"t friend think somebody would have to be quite stupid to eliminate cash indigenous their own register drawer?" 

4. EquivocationThe subject stays clear of an interviewer"s questions by filling his or she statements v expressions that uncertainty, weak modifiers and also vague expressions. Investigators must watch because that words such as: think, guess, kind of, maybe, might, perhaps, approximately, about, could. Faint statements and also expressions of uncertainty allow a deceptive human leeway to change his or she assertions in ~ a later date without directly contradicting the initial statement. Noncommittal verbs are: think, believe, guess, suppose, figure, assume. Equivocating adjectives and also adverbs are: kind of, almost, mainly, perhaps, maybe, about. Vague qualifiers are: you could say, much more or less.

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5. OathsAlthough deceptive subjects attempt to give interviewers as small useful info as possible, they shot very hard to to convince interviewers the what they to speak is true. Deceptive subjects frequently use gentle oaths to shot to do their declaration sound much more convincing. Deceptive world are more likely 보다 truthful world to sprinkle their statements with expressions together as: "I swear," "on mine honor," "as God is mine witness," "cross my heart." Truthful witnesses are much more confident the the facts will prove the veracity of their statements and also feel much less need to earlier their statements with oaths. 

6. EuphemismsMany language offer alternate terms for almost any action or situation. Statements made by guilty next often incorporate mild or pass out words rather than their harsher, much more explicit synonyms. Euphemisms portray the subject"s habits in a much more favorable light and also minimize any harm the subject"s actions could have caused. Investigators have to look because that euphemistic terms such as: "missing" rather of "stolen," "borrowed" instead of "took," "bumped" rather of "hit," and "warned" instead of "threatened."7. Alluding to actionsPeople sometimes allude to actions without saying they in reality performed them. Think about the complying with statement from an employee that was questioned about the lose of some an important data: "I try to ago up my computer and also put far my files every night before going home. Critical Tuesday, I decided to copy my records onto the network drive and also started placing my papers in my workdesk drawer. I additionally needed come lock the customer perform in the office safe." did the employee earlier up her computer? did she copy her files onto the network drive? did she put her papers in the desk drawer? walk she lock the customer perform in the office safe? The employee alluded to all these actions without saying definitively the she completed any of them. One attentive investigator need to not assume that subjects carry out every activity they allude to.8. Lack of DetailTruthful statements generally contain certain details, some of which may not even be pertinent to the concern asked. This happens because truthful subjects room retrieving occasions from long-term memory, and also our memories keep dozens of facts about each suffer — the brand-new shoes us were wearing, the track that was play in the background, the woman at the next table who reminded united state of our third-grade teacher, the conversation the was interrupted when the fire alert rang. At least some of this details will display up in a truthful subject"s statement. Those that fabricate a story, however, often tend to save their statements basic and brief. Couple of liars have actually sufficient creativity to consist of detailed explanation of fictitious events. Plus, a deceptive human wants to minimize the danger that an investigator will discover evidence contradicting any aspect that his or she statement; the fewer truth that might be verified false, the better. Wendell Rudacille, the writer of "Identifying Lies in Disguise" (Kendall/Hunt, 1994), refers to seemingly inconsequential details as "tangential linguistic data" and also considers their visibility to be prime indications that subjects room telling the truth. 9. Stare balanceA narrative is composed of 3 parts: prologue, an important event and also aftermath. The prologue contains background information and also describes events that took place prior to the critical event. The vital event is the most essential occurrence in the narrative. The consequences describes what happened after the vital event. In a complete and truthful narrative, the balance will certainly be about 20 percent to 25 percent prologue, 40 percent come 60 percent an important event and also 25 percent to 35 percent aftermath. If one component of the rigid is significantly much shorter than expected, essential information may have actually been omitted. If one component of the rigid is substantially longer 보다 expected, it might be padded with false information. The complying with statement, filed with an insurance money claim, is suspiciously the end of balance:"I to be driving eastern on Elm Street at about 4:00 on Tuesday. Ns was top top my means home from the A&P supermarket. The web traffic light in ~ the intersection of Elm and Patterson was red, so I concerned a finish stop. ~ the irradiate turned green, i moved slowly into the intersection. Every one of a sudden, a auto ran into me. The various other driver didn"t stop, so i drove home and called my insurance agent."The subject"s statement includes four sentence of prologue, just one sentence explicate the crucial event, and only one sentence of aftermath. The prologue has a credible lot of detail: the day and time that the accident, the driver"s destination, and also the location of the accident. But the description of the an essential event (i.e., the alleged accident) is suspiciously brief. The claimant did not define the various other vehicle, which direction it came from, how quick it to be going, whether the driver braked to shot to prevent the accident or how the two vehicles made contact. The after-effects is also much shorter than one would suppose from a complete and also truthful account that a two-car accident. The claimant does not say which direction the other vehicle went after leaving the step of the accident. The does not cite getting out of his automobile to check the damage nor does the say whether he spoke to any people in the area who may have witnessed the accident. A claims adjuster receiving together a statement would be wise to investigate even if it is the policyholder concocted a phony hit-and-run story to collection for damages resulted in by the driver"s negligence.10. Mean size of UtteranceThe average variety of words every sentence is dubbed the "mean size of utterance" (MLU). The MLU equates to the total variety of words in a statement separated by the number of sentences:  

Total number of words / Total variety of sentences = MLUMost people tend to speak in sentence of between 10 and 15 native (ACFE Self-Study CPE Course, "Analyzing composed Statements because that Deception and also Fraud," 2009). When world feel anxious about an issue, they have tendency to speak in sentence that room either substantially longer or significantly shorter than the norm. Investigators must pay certain attention to sentence whose length differs significantly from the subject"s MLU.THE indigenous REVEAL 

Complete and also accurate explanation of actual occasions are usually declared in the past tense and tend to have a predictable balance that prologue, an important event and aftermath. Truthful statements normally contain plenty of self-referencing pronouns and also include at least a couple of seemingly inconsequential details. Truthful statements hardly ever contain oaths, equivocation or euphemisms. Investigators should use extra scrutiny to created or oral statements that deviate from this norms. Suspects and also witnesses often reveal an ext than lock intend v their choices of words. Paul M. Clikeman, Ph.D., CFE, is an combine professor in the Robins school of company at the college of Richmond.

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 Sidebar:Antics v Semantics 

It may take place that friend inherit a situation that someone else opened. Besides financial documents, all you have are the composed statements native witnesses and suspects. Have the right to you tell sufficient from words alone come detect evasion, absence of cooperation and the will to deceive? Yes, friend can.Semantics is a discipline pertained to with the an interpretation of words and also the ways that words integrate to type meanings in sentences. The noun "rock," because that example, can indicate a stone or a type of music. Together a verb, "to rock" suggests the activity of resulting in something to absent (rock the cradle) or to absent oneself in a chair (rocking on the former porch) or a form of party-time habits ("we were rocking critical night").Anytime you interpret someone"s indigenous — during a conversation, or as part of your professional duties — you are practicing semantics. Right here is one instance of semantic analysis:Use of present Tense as soon as Describing a past OccurrenceSometimes deceptive individuals screen a reluctance to describe past events as past, specifically if the past occasion is the subject of investigation. They refer to past events as if they were developing in the present. You must pay details attention come those points in the narrative in ~ which the speaker shifts to this inappropriate present tense usage, as in the complying with example.How countless times in this written statement does this person switch to the current tense? What seems far-reaching about the points in ~ which the move occurs?"On December 15, 2009, in the late afternoon hours, Don L. Harrington, wife Wanda, and friends Amy Barr, Judy Partin and also Myself, Bob Boone, saw Taylor"s to choose up part layaway items. We provided two cars due to the fact that there was part bulky was such as bicycles and a battery-operated car. Don had actually just gotten his paycheck so instead of do a pilgrimage to the financial institution he would pay the balance the the layaway with his check. Wanda commonly handles the finances, therefore she had actually Don"s inspect in her purse. For this reason Wanda hands Don his check, which subsequently he gives it come the layaway clerk. The salesman look in ~ the check and also said that she couldn"t expropriate it however it was obvious that clerk was inexperienced, since in reality it to be the other clerk functioning in layaway that told the clerk the she would have to inspect with the manager first. So the clerk take away the examine over to the manager, and we all check out the manager shake she head ‘no." by this time Don sees that he can"t use his check, which to be a surprised to us since it was a payroll check instead that a an individual check. Yet instead of resulting in chaos, Don decided to pay for it in cash, i m sorry Wanda had in she purse. Therefore Don asked she for the money, provided it come the clerk, the clerk provided him the receipt, and we went to the back to choose up the merchandise. In all the confusion, Don thought that Wanda had actually the check, and Wanda believed that Don had it, and by this time we had gained to Don"s house. For this reason Don dubbed ABC company and told the payroll dept. That his check was lost."Bob Boone supplies the current tense in 3 sentences:"So Wanda hand Don his examine which subsequently he provides it to the layaway clerk.""So the clerk bring away the check over come the manager, and also we all view the manager shake her head ‘no." ""By this time Don sees that he can"t usage his check, which was a surprise to us due to the fact that it was a payroll examine instead that a an individual check."It is impressive that the move to the present tense wake up at vital moments in the exchange: together the inspect is handed over, together the manager refuses to expropriate the check and as Don becomes mindful he will not have the ability to use the payroll check. This suggests the human being is sensitive about those moments.Often, world use the current tense for past events when they space rehearsing the occasions in your mind. That is a device for keeping things straight. Maybe the person is simply being careful, or probably he is being deceptive.As one investigator, you must note the switches to the current tense, and also the point of the narrative in ~ which this occur. From there, you will certainly decide how to check out the issues further. Excerpted and adapted from the ACFE Self-Study CPE Course, "Analyzing created Statements for Deception and also Fraud," 2009. This excerpt is through Don Rabon, CFE.Further Reading 



"Investigating Discourse Analysis," by Don Rabon, CFE (Carolina academic Press, 2003). "Identifying Lies in Disguise," through Wendell Rudacille (Kendall/Hunt, 1994). "I understand You space Lying," by mark McClish (The Marpa Group, 2001). "Statement Analysis: What do Suspects" Words yes, really Reveal?" by Susan H. Adams, FBI regulation Enforcement Journal (October 1996).  


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