By Benjamin Radford
Originally published December 5, 2013
Here is an excerpt:
There are several factors that help hoaxers get away with their false reports. One of them is that victims are given special status based on the simple — and usually true — assumption that they actually have been victimized. Most people who report insults and crimes against them are telling the truth. The vast majority of physical and sexual assaults, property crimes, auto thefts and so on are real and legitimate. Hoaxers exploit this fact by hiding their faked reports in a sea of genuine ones.
Until the public and police become suspicious, hoaxers are given the benefit of the doubt, attention and assistance and treated with sympathy.
Hoaxers also often gain credibility through real or claimed membership in an oppressed or respected group. Our culture bestows respect and credibility on certain groups, such as mothers, members of the military, professionals, some minorities including the gay community, the elderly, clergy and others.
In many cases the claims themselves are often lacking significant details. They are plausible enough to be taken seriously by supporters and the public, but when police and experienced investigators examine their story, parts don’t add up.
The entire story is here.