THE BLOG

Catch Me If You Can: An Inside Look at Deception

05/23/2014 01:18 pm 13:18:32 | Updated Jul 22, 2014

BLOGGER'S NOTE: In the interest of full disclosure, the blogger is indeed a member of two fraternal organizations.

People lie.

Often, they lie about who they are for no good reason.

These people lie about being police officers, firefighters and military along with fraternities, sororities and Masonic organizations.

People even lie about graduating from certain universities and having advances degrees. Like former Notre Dame head coach George O'Leary and current Manhattan basketball coach Steve Masiello.

When I hear stories about people who lie about being a member of my fraternity, I often wonder why they do it despite the fact that they might get caught.

Once exposed, these people are often ridiculed. So much so, that they end up on a website called perpleaks.com. Perpleaks gathers information on confirmed "perps" aka perpetrators. The photos on the site are reminiscent of America's Most Wanted.

2014-05-22-Perps.png

The 2002 film, Catch Me If You Can, was a biopic that chronicled the life of Frank W. Abagnale.

Abagnale was once a con artist who pretended to be a doctor, lawyer and a pilot.

He once told reporters how he got involved in deception:

It begins with my parents' divorce and its dramatic effect on me. I ran away and suddenly found myself a teenager alone in the world. I had to grow up very quickly and become very creative in order to survive. But what started out as survival became more and more of a game. I was an opportunist, so when I saw an opening I asked myself, "Could I get away with that?" Then there was the satisfaction of actually getting away with it. The more I got away with, the more of a game it became "a game I knew I would ultimately lose, but a game I was going to have fun playing until I did.

In some cases, these people are caught by people whom they believe do not know any better.

"You can spot the liars pretty quickly because they tend to sell their story to people they are civilians."

Jamey O'Neal, a former Marine who fought in Operation Desert Storm, says that she catches people lying about their military service often.

"I come across people who lie about being in the military all the time," she said. "Not only do people lie about being in the service, they lie about have been attached to the most elite and dangerous branches."

She also believes that the people who lie to her about their military service underestimate her because she is a woman.

"I think because I'm a woman, people think I'm unlikely to have been in the military, and even if it comes up that I was military, they don't suspect Marine

Dr. Nancy Zarse is a licensed clinical psychologist and full professor in the forensic department at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Her areas of expertise include personality disorders, forensic psychology and Psychopathology.

She believes that people who mislead others in such as manner feel some sort of entitlement.

"I think people feel entitled when they present themselves in ways that are not accurate," Zarse said. "I think people do lie for image. They lie to make themselves look better."

Dr. Zarse also believes that this type of behavior is rationalized.

"I think people say 'you know what? I wanted to be in the fraternity, I should've been in the fraternity, it's someone's fault I'm not in a fraternity," she said. "Increasingly, we seem to have less consequences for this behavior. If somebody lies and achieves an outcome that is better because of the lie, in some ways, that reinforces the behavior."

At this point, you might be asking yourself why this phenomenon continues to happen.

Your guess is as good as mine and let me know when you find the answer.