How to tell if someone is lying via phone or email?

Written by erin schreiner Google
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How to tell if someone is lying via phone or email?
Phone or Internet communication can make it harder to detect a lie. (Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images)

Developing the ability to identify lies can help you better navigate situations of dishonesty. While it is not always possible to tell when someone is being less-than-truthful with you, there are often signs of lying that you can detect, even if you are being lied to over the phone or via e-mail. If you have reason to suspect that the information you are receiving isn't the whole truth, consider whether you can spot any of these likely lie signs.

Skill level:



  1. 1

    Listen for pauses. While a certain degree of pausing is natural, if someone pauses repeatedly when talking to you, it could be a sign that she isn't telling the truth. Constant pausing, particularly right before orally stating information that is a lie can indicate either the individual's hesitancy to lie or her attempt to keep her lies straight before she tells her untruth.

  2. 2

    Pay attention to speech accelerations. As "Psychology Today" reports, many individuals speak in short bursts of accelerated speech when telling lies. This unconscious speech acceleration is often tied to the individual's nervousness about lying or desire to simply get the lie over with.

  3. 3

    Listen for intonation changes. If the person to whom you are speaking exhibits noticeable changes in voice pitch, he may not be being as honest as you would like. Listen specifically for rises and falls in intonation. Particularly telling is if the individual speaks in one pitch range for most of the conversation then changes pitch only when he is telling you the information that you suspect may be false.


  1. 1

    Compare statements to previous communications. Because e-mail is written communication, you have the ability to better analyse the potential mistruth. Take advantage of this opportunity by looking back at previous communications and checking for any message discrepancy.

  2. 2

    Pay attention to overelaboration. If the individual presents an exorbitantly large number of details when discussing the thing that you suspect may be a lie, he is likely not telling the truth. Over elaboration is a common sign of lying as individuals telling a lie may subconsciously provide a plethora of details in an attempt to add validity to their lies.

  3. 3

    Look for logic flaws. If the information you don't believe is true seems to lack logic, it is likely a lie. Reread the email correspondence several times and put it through the logic test, considering whether it really rings true. If it doesn't seem to, it likely is a lie.

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