6 times we are likely to lie for money

6 Smart Money moves

The truth is, we're all more likely to lie when money is at stake. Psychologists have found that just the mere mention of money triggers something in the human brain that makes us more susceptible to give in to the temptation of behaving unethically. Namely, lying to earn more money or lying to prevent monetary loss.

Compounding this sinister human tendency are two overarching factors: Simply having a lot of money makes us more prone to being dishonest, and so does a history of lying and getting away with it. As it turns out, the more lies we tell, the more inclined we are to continue to lie again and again in the future.

Of course, no two lies hold the same weight. Some are downright criminal, while others are more easily brushed under the rug. Here are the circumstances in which we're most inclined to let our love of money outshine our moral compass. (See also: The 10 Biggest Lies We Tell Ourselves About Money)

1. When We Want to Dodge a Paywall

A third of Americans think it's acceptable to use someone else's account login to avoid paying subscription fees for online movies, music, or news articles. And if the temptation to login to another person's Netflix account arises while you're in a dark room, psychologists say you're even more likely to give in to it. That's because the absence of light actually makes us more inclined to act on an impulse to lie or cheat. Psychologists say it all boils down to the illusion of anonymity. Even though you aren't actually more anonymous in the dark, you feel as though you are. Experiencing this sense of "no one's looking" makes us more likely to do something dishonest.

So, the next time you feel the urge to mooch on a friend's HBO Go account, turn on a light!

2. When We File Our Taxes

Under-reporting under-the-table income to the IRS in order to pay less in taxes is deemed acceptable by 24% of Americans — even though it could lead to prosecution. Recent research offers an inkling behind why some Americans would risk criminal penalties just to save an extra buck: We're more likely to cheat when we think there's more to go around. When there are plenty of resources — in this case, Uncle Sam's piggy bank — we believe that our own behavior won't have much of an impact in the grand scheme of things.

3. When We Sign Up for Auto Insurance

A quarter of Americans think it's acceptable to lie about annual car mileage to save on insurance. If you can get away with it, this lie's potential savings ranges from 6%-14% on your annual premium. The cost of getting caught, however, is raised rates or a flat-out policy cancellation.

4. When We're Applying for Grant Money

Academics commonly feel compelled to lie on applications for grant money. Seeking to win funds, researchers in Australia and Britain regularly exaggerate the projected impact of their projects. Most of them say they are driven to lie due to fierce competition. "If you can find me a single academic who hasn't had to bullsh** or bluff or lie or embellish in order to get grants, then I will find you an academic who is in trouble with [their] head of department," said one professor in Australia.

5. When We're Shopping for Life Insurance

Lying about marijuana use to receive lower life insurance rates is deemed acceptable by 22% of men — but just 12% of women. The potential savings of getting away with this fib is $1,000 a year. That's pretty significant. But so is the cost of getting caught — your policy could get canceled.

6. When We Want to Order Off the Kids' Menu

If the kids' meal cut-off age is seven, but little Sarah is 12, would you fib about her age to save $4 on a chicken sandwich? All told, 21% of Americans would have no qualms about lying about a child's age to receive a discount at a restaurant. And a whopping 36% of adults ages 18-34 — an age bracket that assumedly includes new and expecting parents — deem lying for a kids' meal to be acceptable.

What are some of the ways you have lied for money? Share with us in the comments!

Related: Unusual ways to make quick money

20 unusual ways to make quick money
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6 times we are likely to lie for money

Dog-sitting, babysitting, or house-sitting

These jobs are always in high demand, and the best part: you can name your price and create your own schedule! Post an ad on craigslist, or use your friends' and family's connections to get your name out there. 

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Rent out your space 

List your apartment on Airbnb or another rental site, and make some easy cash by staying at a friends and renting out your place for the weekend.

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Share your space

Just as you can rent out your full apartment or house, you can also post a free room (or even just your couch!) on sites like Craigslist or Airbnb. This way you can split your living expenses -- and maybe even make a new friend!

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Sell your body parts

Now here's a weird one: Donate your hair, breast milk, or even plasma for a profit. According to Grifols, if you're healthy and weigh above 110 pounds, you can earn up to $200 a month donating your plasma to life-saving medicine. 

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Sign up to participate in medical tests and clinical trials. 

Universities constantly need volunteers to test new medicines and treatments -- and because the pool of willing participants is limited, there is typically a large compensation for being a guinea pig. 

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Participate in a focus group

Companies and organizations will pay you to join a focus group. These can be conducted in person, online, or via phone. You will most likely be reimbursed in cash or gift cards -- plus, you often get to test out fun new products! 

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Take online surveys

Similar to focus groups, you can get paid to give your time and insights on an online questionairre. Plus, you can do this from the comfort of your couch. 

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Bank on your sperm

Although we don't necessarily recommend this option, there is a very high demand for healthy sperm donors. Keep in mind some of the obvious drawbacks, but sperm donation is non-invasive and highly compensated. 

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Crowdfund your dreams

Crowdfunding allows you to raise monetary contributions from a large group of people who want to support your venture. Post your project or idea on a crowdfund site, like GoFundMe.com, and see the cash pile up.

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Become a tutor

If you're qualified, post an ad online or on a community board to tutor children on their school courses or for the upcoming SATs.

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Get a part-time job

Capitalize your free time (on the weekends or after work hours) by working a part-time job. A bartender, waiter, or Uber driver are all great options for an additional source of income -- and great tips! 

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Resell tickets

Take this suggestion at your own risk: If you're staying within legal limits, buy tickets low and sell high as an effective way to source additional money. (Just make sure to check your state and local laws first!)

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You can sell anything on the internet these days... including your companionship! Get paid to go on a platonic outing for a few hours and enjoy your afternoon with a new friend. 

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Rent out your parking spot

Make sure to check with your landlord first, but if you have the option to park your own car further away, lend or share your parking space or driveway for the hour, day, or even month! 

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Keep a coin jar 

This one takes patience before a big pay out, but keep a spare jar or drawer for loose change that you usually toss anyway. It will keep it all in one place -- and those quarters do add up! 

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Make something to sell 

If you have a knack for arts & crafts, create jewelry or other handmade gifts to sell on sites filled with other thrifty vendors like Etsy

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Sell items online

This effective strategy requires low effort with a high return. Post photos of your used or non-used items on sites like eBay or Craigslist, and let the bidding begin! 

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Have a yard sale

Sell clutter you've been meaning to get rid of right in your front yard. This simple tactic is convenient, and guarantees a wad of cash right to your pocket.  

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Return past purchases

This tip may seem obvious, but is often overlooked: Take your recently-purchased items that are laying around back to the store for either store credit or a full refund. 

Recycle scrap metal and cans

Collect cans and scrap metal out your own garbage, basement, and street and bring to your local recycler to exchange your findings for money.  

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