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September 12, 2021

Can you trust someone if you know they're wearing a fake brand?

Dan Ariely, the author of a new book about dishonesty, says those who wear fake brands are more likely to lie and cheat than other people.

Slipping on imitation designer duds can fool others, of course. But you'll always know better. Which means wearing knockoffs, particularly if they're good fakes, is a small but undeniable act of duplicity that could say a lot more about you. 

Ariely talks about how he and fellow researchers had a group of female subjects take a series of tests while wearing Chloé sunglasses, informing them that the goods were either fake or real.

Repeatedly, the researchers found that those in the knockoff shades were more prone to exageration, if not outright lying.


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In one test, subjects were asked to complete a math puzzle and grade themselves privately, knowing they’d be paid more for a higher score. Nearly three quarters of those in the fake glasses inflated their results, while fewer than 30% of those in the brand name glasses cooked their numbers.

According to Ariely, this demonstrated that while everyone had been tempted to cheat and did, those who thought they were wearing fake designer glasses cheated more often.

A willingness to wear knockoff sunglasses or other fashion items sends a message that you're ok with at least some degree of dishonesty, he suggests.

Do you agree? Does sporting fake shades say something about your integrity? Or are you just being frugal?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...