How to tell if that text, email or message on social media is a big lie

E-mailing, texting, tweeting. It's how we communicate nowadays and it's not always polite. In fact, Travis Meek says sometimes people are more blunt in a text than they'd actually be in person.

"Often times if they feel offended, very quickly they come back and tell you they're offended," said Meek, who texts with friends often.

And at times online messages can be straight out lies, especially when it comes to online dating.

"They'll take a picture of themselves that's like years ago, when they were in shape and had more hair. And then they don't look like that at all in real life," Rachel Pereira said.

So how do you know if someone is being honest in the digital world?

"You really want to analyze the words. What they're saying and what they're not saying," explained Tyler Cohen Wood, an intelligence officer and cyber branch chief at the Defense Intelligence Agency Science and Technology Directorate.

Wood says with no body language to decipher, it can be difficult to tell if someone is being deceptive in an e-mail or text message.

In her new book, "Catching the Catfishers: Disarm the Online Pretenders, Predators and Perpetrators Who Are Out to Ruin Your Life," she uses a modified version of a law enforcement technique known as statement analysis, which is a way to look for deception by analyzing a person's words.

"The way they phrase their sentences can be an indication of whether or not someone is being deceptive with you," she said.

Wood says to look for qualifying statements.

"Statements like, 'Well to be completely honest with you', or 'I really hate to tell you this,'" Wood said.

And switching tenses within a message can be a red flag.

"If you start jumping all of a sudden from past tense words to present tense words, that's another indication that someone is being dishonest with you," she said.

The more obvious signals someone is fibbing?

"They'll use these non-committal words to give themselves an out when they're not telling you the truth," said Wood.

And with online dating, the truth can be far off.  So you may want to vet that hot guy with specific requests: Asking him to Skype, asking for a real-time photo, and creeping on his Facebook or Twitter accounts to see if his friends and followers are real people he actually interacts with.

You may also question an electronic message from anyone who won't answer a direct question or someone who changes the subject. So go with your gut.

"Don't discount intuition. If something feels wrong, there's a good reason for that. Subconsciously people can usually tell if something is not right," Wood said emphatically.

Wood also says when we want a relationship to work out, we often ignore red flags in online messages. So she recommends asking a friend to look at the digital response, as an outside perspective can help.


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