Deception Detection - What To Do After You Find Out

I do deception detection training for law enforcement, corporate clients, hospitals and casinos. Recently I was asked to share with a media source what to do when you have found out there has been a lie or cover-up. So here are ten things to do when you have discovered an employee lying, cheating or stealing.  

You really need to get a read on the person before you have a discussion or attempt to uncover deception. Sometimes it is just a small lie or bad behavior by an overall good person, but if the problem is serious or a criminal or the person is unstable you may have to deal with some uncomfortable or even dangerous behavior.  Someone who has been living with the fear of being “found out” may be in a heightened state of stress for a long time.  Think of what you would do to prepare to come upon a soldier in a war zone.  The person may be very afraid and ready to attack or defend. Proceed and deal with that person cautiously.
1.       Have evidence. Having visual hard evidence, specific facts in a list form on paper, videotapes, things that they can see and or touch is helpful.
2.       Know exactly what you’re going to say.  Write it down, prepare and practice.
3.       If you want to get them to talk or tell you why, you may want to use the phrase, “I know what you did, and I know you want to tell me everything.” “I know you did this, and you will feel so much better if you tell me everything.”
4.       Have your plan of what you will do and what they need to do and be prepared to take action and follow through immediately.
5.       Some people will crumble right away and apologize. Be prepared to act with compassion and forgiveness for someone who made a mistake and is not a bad person or compulsive liar.
6.       If a liar thinks they have an out or delay, they can be very persuasive and manipulative.  Be prepared, they may use tears and anger to try to get you to change your plans.  
7.        If someone is a compulsive liar be prepared, they will continue to deny any evidence you give them of their deceit.
8.       Be prepared to repeat your statements of evidence. Repeat your plan and what they need to do. Also be prepared to say,”I hear what you’re saying, but I need to do… and you must do …” or even, “No matter what you say, this is what needs to happen.”
9.       When they are gone and you are done, plan to do something with someone you trust and care about to ground you and remind you that most people are good and kind. Don’t berate yourself for being deceived, it happens.
10.   Protect yourself from cynicism. Look for kind, caring and honest people.   The most recent research says that people who expect people to be good and have people in their life that have integrity can more accurately detect deceit. 

Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at