Article Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

6 Times We Are Likely to Lie for Money


Apr. 5, 2016 Wise Bread

The truth is, we’re all more likely to lie when money is at stake. Psychologists have found that just the mere mention of money triggers something in the human brain that makes us more susceptible to give in to the temptation of behaving unethically. Namely, lying to earn more money or lying to prevent monetary loss.

Compounding this sinister human tendency are two overarching factors: Simply having a lot of money makes us more prone to being dishonest, and so does a history of lying and getting away with it. As it turns out, the more lies we tell, the more inclined we are to continue to lie again and again in the future.

Of course, no two lies hold the same weight. Some are downright criminal, while others are more easily brushed under the rug. Here are the circumstances in which we’re most inclined to let our love of money outshine our moral compass. (See also: The 10 Biggest Lies We Tell Ourselves About Money)

1. When We Want to Dodge a Paywall
A third of Americans think it’s acceptable to use someone else’s account login to avoid paying subscription fees for online movies, music, or news articles. And if the temptation to login to another person’s Netflix account arises while you’re in a dark room, psychologists say you’re even more likely to give in to it. That’s because the absence of light actually makes us more inclined to act on an impulse to lie or cheat. Psychologists say it all boils down to the illusion of anonymity. Even though you aren’t actually more anonymous in the dark, you feel as though you are. Experiencing this sense of “no one’s looking” makes us more likely to do something dishonest.

So, the next time you feel the urge to mooch on a friend’s HBO Go account, turn on a light!

2. When We File Our Taxes
Under-reporting under-the-table income to the IRS in order to pay less in taxes is deemed acceptable by 24% of Americans — even though it could lead to prosecution. Recent research offers an inkling behind why some Americans would risk criminal penalties just to save an extra buck: We’re more likely to cheat when we think there’s more to go around. When there are plenty of resources — in this case, Uncle Sam’s piggy bank — we believe that our own behavior won’t have much of an impact in the grand scheme of things.

Read More on Wise Bread

Gene Upshaw Player Assistance Trust Fund

Apply Today

All Resources

Tell Me More

When Will Your Next Monthly Child Tax Credit Payment Arrive?

One Payment Down...More to Come

Read More

How Housing Stability Programs Can Help Protect Your American Dream

Finding Stability in a Crisis

Read More

What is Debt Forgiveness and What Does It Cost?

In the end, free money will almost always cost something.

Read More

Non-tax filer families can now sign up for the new monthly child tax credit

One more IRS portal is coming

Read More

4 Ways to Overcome That Gap on Your Resume

Providing clarity and being upfront are critical.

Read More

Greater whole grain intake may reduce cardiovascular risk factors

Natural grains can provide good cholesterol to help fight heart disease.

Read More

5 Toxic Behaviors Parents Engage In

And you likely don't even realize it

Read More

Wait, Smiles Do Make You Happy?

Smile...and be aware that you're doing it.

Read More