Liar, Liar: Top Money Lies Americans Are Comfortable With

03/18/2016 at 7:03 | US News & World Report

They include fibbing to the IRS, fudging facts on insurance and stretching the truth to nab a discount. No, your pants aren’t on fire. But judging by the results of a new poll, you might be comfortable lying about certain money issues to get ahead in life – even if the consequences could be grave.

The survey from NerdWallet, conducted by Harris Poll and released this week, sheds some light on how consumers feel about lying when money is at stake.

1. Some Lies Are More Forgivable Than Others. As you might suspect, not all lies are created equal in the eyes of most Americans. Take a look at what participants were – and weren’t – OK with.

Entertainment subscription accounts. Do you have Netflix or Amazon Prime, Pandora, Hulu Plus or something along those lines? Or rather, do you have family members or friends who have such a service, and they let you use it? That’s OK. Well, not really, but 33 percent of Americans say using someone else’s account information for online movies, music or articles to avoid paying subscription costs is acceptable.

The IRS. How about deliberately concealing under-the-table income? Twenty-four percent of Americans said not reporting that dough to the IRS was acceptable.

Eating out. You go to a restaurant, and your kid is 13 or 14 but looks younger. Should you lie about his age to get a discount at a restaurant, theme park or, say, a museum? Twenty-one percent of Americans think that kind of thing is fine, but apparently it’s a little worse to lie about your own age (only 17 percent said that was permissible).

Auto insurance. What about fudging the number of miles you drive every year so you can get a lower auto insurance rate? Twenty percent of Americans say that’s acceptable.

Credit cards. Lying about your income on a credit card or loan application so a financial institution will lend you more? Only 12 percent feel that’s acceptable.

Life insurance. Sixteen percent of people condone lying about smoking marijuana to get lower life insurance rates, whereas only 11 percent of respondents believe it’s OK to lie about smoking habits to get lower life insurance rates.

2. Men Lie More; Older People Lie Less. True to the stereotype, when it comes to dishonesty and dollars, men can be cads. Meanwhile, graying hair may signal honesty.

At least, when it came to this survey, male participants were likelier to condone lying than women, and older participants were more honest.

When it came to lying on a credit card or loan application, 16 percent of men were willing to lie about the information they provided, compared with only 8 percent of women. Almost twice as many men were also perfectly fine with not reporting under-the-table income to the IRS (30 percent of men versus 18 percent of women). But there was only a 3 percent difference between men and women (35 percent versus 32 percent) when it came to using someone else’s account to avoid paying for online, subscription-based movies, music or articles.

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