Social engineering at interrogation. How to behave?

Social engineering at interrogation. How to behave?

In today’s article we will talk about social engineering during interrogation, as well as how to behave. As a rule, law enforcement officers resort to standard methods of interrogation. This is what you should be prepared for:

– Establishing psychological contact with a suspect, creating a trusting atmosphere, and sometimes, on the contrary, intimidation.

– Conversations on neutral topics.

– The evidence is voiced in importance – the most convincing is saved for the final.

– Negative statements about participants of events who are not in the interrogation.

– Exaggeration of the investigator’s awareness.

– Moral arguments, emphasis on the suspect’s conscience.

There are also more sophisticated psychological methods – we will tell you how to react to them correctly.

1. Threats for silence.

The beginning of the interrogation can be as follows: the investigator puts on the table a protocol to Article 91 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Russia (“Grounds of detention of a suspect”) or “Decision and determination on the choice of preventive measure”, and then with the words: “Confess – or go to prison” he gives 15 minutes for reflection and leaves the office.

If you don’t want to go after the investigator, always stay on the line of innocent behavior.
Remember that you must not explain the reason for refusing to testify – you are protected by Article 51 of the Constitution of Russia: “No one is obliged to testify against himself, his spouse and close relatives, whose circle is determined by federal law”. Nevertheless, investigators threaten responsibility for “silence”, for example, they say: “The law establishes criminal liability for refusing to testify and for knowingly giving false testimony. You understand that you are also under suspicion if you conceal a criminal?

The main rule is silence if you doubt the answer.
Investigators can also threaten you if you are not ready to give immediate answers to questions. Do not polemic, and try to answer only short yes and no, so you will be more difficult to confuse. Answer difficult questions: “I find it hard to answer. Ideally, you should answer all questions in writing. This helps you think about the answers and make them short. Investigators do not always record questions on the record, and this is a violation and should also be monitored.

Speak slowly, think about every word. Let the investigator adjust to your measured manner. By law, the interrogation can last up to eight hours, which means there is no hurry. Also, the investigator may “accidentally forget” that the continuous interrogation should last no longer than four hours. The break is at least one hour – make sure you tell him about it.


Theatre behavior.
The investigator is a professional of his business, in his behavior everything is thought out in detail. Politeness and ostentatious interest are only means to locate the interlocutor and get the necessary information from him. He looks into the eyes and is very interested in you. Simple, non-trial questions are a way to talk to you and learn your gestures and facial expressions. This knowledge is then used to understand whether the person is lying or not by answering questions about the case. For example, if the question “How many children do you have” was looked at in the upper right corner and answered the truth (according to observations, the investigator knows the correct answers to the first six or eight questions), then in the future such a look will be an indicator of truth, and the look in the upper left corner – lies.

Investigators think over possible answers in advance and ask tricky questions that cast doubt on the rightness of the interlocutor. The investigator can change the tone, pace, topic of conversation – everything in order to get a person out of balance.

During the conversation, the innocent usually responds emotionally to the accusations and actively defends himself, gives factual refutations on the counts of the case, worries about possible criminal record and reactions of relatives. The guilty is often passive and has a wait-and-see strategy, tries to distract the attention of the investigation from the accusations, and is interested only in the measure of punishment.

If you don’t want to go to the investigator, always stick to the line of behavior of the innocent.
Changing an “evil” investigator to a “good” one is a classic psychological move to relax and blunt a person’s attention. The good policeman allegedly sympathizes, for example, begins the conversation with such phrases: “I see that you got into history by accident. Your security service was doing all the nudity, and you were not aware of it. In general, we don’t need any unnecessary articles, we’ll think together how to get out of the situation”. Another visit: “We know that you had nothing to do with it. Your counteragents have already confessed to everything. Answer a few questions and go home. As a result – the accused become an organized criminal group or persons acting by prior conspiracy. And these are already aggravating circumstances.


Do not relax and do not cover general topics. For example, one businessman told about his departure from the capital to St. Petersburg during such a neutral conversation. This is how the investigators found out that he had violated his nonexit subscription and toughened the preventive measure.

If a citizen is afraid of, for example, the words “naked”, “kind” policeman can say softer (for example, “getting cash)” and adjust questions with this phrase, seeking confessions.

An offer to take a polygraph is always a provocation. If you refuse, the investigator will suspect that you are not telling us important information. If you agree, he or she will conduct an evaluation, even if he or she did not intend to do so.

If the investigator becomes aggressive, screams and gets angry, then you are lucky and the case is at a dead end. Wait for an apology. If there are no apologies, and the insults continue, insist on replacing the investigator. It is easier to do this through your lawyer who will write a complaint to the prosecutor’s office or the investigation unit.

Another option is to interrogate in the general office where the investigator’s coworkers work. They can start asking questions almost at the same time. Such an onslaught is difficult to withstand – you have the right to demand that there is no one at the interrogation, except the investigator.

Investigators can bluff. One businessman participated in the interrogation under the article “Commercial bribery”. The investigator was examining photographs with him, allegedly fixing the transfer of a bribe. The interrogated saw them only on the reverse side, but decided that they proved his guilt and confessed.



Dusk in the office, the light of the lamp right in the face, the mirror in front of the interviewee – these are all methods of psychological impact. If the investigator appeared before you, dressed in uniform with epaulets, it is also a sure sign of intimidation. He does not need to dress like that, the interrogation can be conducted in jeans and sweater. But with this kind of entourage, you are likely to feel stressed.

It happens in a different way. If the detainee is in a detention center, he may be handcuffed during the interrogation and offered cigarettes – just to be placed with him.

4. Intimidation or foggy accusations.

Before the interview, investigators collect information about a person’s private life to use during the interview. Sometimes prior to the interview, they are shown a record of detention or a precautionary measure and given time to think about the testimony, but they are not actually going to detain the person. Sometimes they show all the evidence of guilt at once to discourage them. For example, in one of the business cases, a mother and daughter went together. The investigator interrogated both of them one by one. He told the mother that her daughter had told everything, and her daughter that the mother had testified against her. So he misled both of them.

The offer to take a polygraph is always a provocation.
Such actions raise doubts about the correctness of the interviewee’s position. There will be a feeling of full awareness of the police, but remember that if the investigator knew everything, this conversation would simply not have happened. React only when you are told all the available information and presented all the evidence of guilt. If you are told, ‘We know you have met with a suspect on that date,’ this is most likely not the case if the investigator does not give evidence.

5. “Have you thought about your mother?”

During the interrogation the investigators already know everything about the personal life of the interlocutor, so they often mention his relatives and say that they too will be put in prison if the suspect does not confess. They ask to think about the mother or small children who will be left alone. In a recent case, a businessman bought his daughter a car. The investigator knew about it and said that he would take the car against taxes not paid to the state, and then called his daughter and called her for questioning – the businessman’s determination was suppressed.

Another situation: the investigator found out that the businessman with his family had flown to the Maldives, so he used the following argument: ‘There is money to fly to the Maldives, but not to pay taxes.

In this situation, the main thing is not to panic, even if not the whole truth is on your side. Try to be cool. The best advice is never to go to the interrogation alone. Take with you an experienced lawyer, who will intercept the initiative of the conversation.

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