3 Ways to Spot Dishonest People in Business

As a hard working business owner, you do everything to make sure your company is successful, your vendors and employees are paid on time, and that everything you do is completely honest and transparent.

Unfortunately, lately you’ve had the feeling that not everyone is treating you the same way. You can’t quite shake the feeling that one of the companies you do business with is being dishonest with you, and unfortunately, you are getting the same vibes about one of your employees.

While getting played in your business venture is an unpleasant situation no matter how you look at it, you don’t have to take it lying down. For example, the following tips can help you learn to spot dishonest people as well as handle them effectively:

Liars Fib about Everything

If you get the sense that one of your vendors is lying to you about their rising prices and/or they are trying to scam you in some way, listen to see if you can catch him in other lies. If someone is dishonest about small details, that person is very likely to fib about larger and more important things as well. For instance, the vendor may crow to you about how she got away over the weekend to an amazing beach town—little does she know, you spotted her at a distance at a grocery store on Saturday afternoon. If someone is willing to lie to you about a seemingly inconsequential thing like her weekend plans, she will probably also lie to you about business-related details.

Their Stories Will Change

Another surefire way to spot a dishonest person is if their stories change constantly. An employee who you believe may be lying about his need for time off may first tell you that his dog is ill and he needs to take paid leave to care for him—but the next time he tells it, the cat is sick. If a story is not true, people will tend to forget how they told their tall tale the first time and change who is involved and other key details. By listening closely to what a person—whether it’s a vendor or employee—is telling you and watching for these changes in his or her stories, you may learn you are dealing with a dishonest person.

They Cannot Handle the Truth

Vendors or employees who have shady pasts are typically unlikely to address your concerns head on. If you confront them about their lies, they will likely hem and haw and deny trying to play you. On the flip side, companies and people who have been falsely accused of wrongdoing will often take the high road and do everything they can to present the truth to the public. A great example of this is Amway and the pyramid scheme rumors that have followed the company around for years. To set the record straight, Amway addressed these false rumors by posting an educational article on the company site that explains what a pyramid scheme is and how Amway’s business model is far from a scam.

How to Handle Dishonest People

If you suspect you are being played in business, the first step is to try to get proof of the dishonesty. If you are legally allowed to record phone conversations in your state, you can use a device to get an audio file of any business-related talks; if necessary, ask an attorney for advice on how to act lawfully in this situation. Next, confront the vendor or employee and let him or her know that you are aware of their lies and that you will not tolerate them. Sometimes, calling a dishonest person out will be enough for them to stop the behavior. If the situation persists, get out of the vendor relationship and/or let the employee go. Life is too short to deal with people who want to take advantage of you and chances are good you can find other vendors and employees to replace the dishonest ones.

Say Goodbye to Liars Forever

You have worked hard to build up your business; the last thing you need is for dishonest people to try to tear it down. By being aware of the warning signs that people are lying to you—as well as know when a company is legitimate or not—and how to deal with these shady people, you will go a long way in preserving your sanity along with your company.


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