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America’s biggest money lies

78% of American adults admit to lying for financial gain.

If somebody on the street dropped a wallet in front of you, would you let that person know — or would you snatch that cash?

If you’re anything like the majority of American adults (56%), you’d pocket the money. And you’d likely not give a damn about it, given only 17% admit to feeling guilty enough to come clean about their actions.

In June 2018, with the help of global research provider Pureprofile, conducted a survey of 2,020 US adults to find that an estimated 192.7 million American adults (78%) admitted to lying for financial gain. Even more telling was that most people didn’t feel bad about their dishonesty.

What are we most likely to lie about? Astonishingly, it’s keeping money you found rather than handing it over to its rightful owner (56%). This is followed by keeping your mouth shut when undercharged (52%) and hiding purchases from your partner (36%).

Men more likely to be deceitful with money

Next time you’re talking finances with your partner, you might not want to take them at their word. This is especially true if your partner is a man.

In all but one category — withholding purchases from a partner — men are more likely than women to have lied to their partner about finances.

But while men are more likely to have lied across the board, in most cases they’re also more likely to have felt guilty about what they’d done, eventually confessing their transgressions to their partner.

Gen Y is a bunch of liars

Those in Gen Y are more likely than their generational counterparts to lie in all eight categories. Buying an item with the intent to return it provided the largest disparity among the generations, with 58% of Gen Y admitting to having done it, versus 24% of Gen Xers and only 9% of baby boomers. Closely following is those who admitted to downloading content illegally: 49% of Gen Y, 24% of Gen X and 11% of boomers.

While Gen Y is most likely to have lied about their finances, in most cases they’re also most likely to cop to what they’ve done. In all but two categories — keeping quiet when undercharged and illegally downloading content — Gen Y is most likely to feel guilty and come clean.

Breakdown by State

There’s a reason they call it Sin City

Those living in Nevada — home of Las Vegas and little sister Reno — topped the list in four out of eight categories: misrepresenting their status for financial gain (45%), withholding information on taxes (24%), buying an item with the intent to use it once and return it (29%, tied with Georgia) and illegally downloading content (39%, tied with California).

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For all media inquiries, please contact:

Richard Laycock, Insights editor and senior content marketing manager


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