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Deception is the act of deliberately causing somebody to accept something as true that is not true. It is an action that hides the truth.  

Ohio defines deception as “knowingly deceiving another or causing another to be deceived by any false or misleading representation, by withholding information, by preventing another from acquiring information, or by any other conduct, act, or omission that creates, confirms, or perpetuates a false impression in another, including a false impression as to law, value, state of mind, or other objective or subjective fact" in Section 2913.01 of its criminal code.

Some common uses of the term “deception” in a legal sense include:

  • In the context of theft by deception, cases such as this one from District of Columbia, explain that the term deception includes “any act or communication made by the defendant which he knows to be untrue or false, including any misrepresentation as to the future, as well as the past or present.”
  • In the context of statute prohibiting unfair and deceptive trade practices, cases such as this one from Florida, explain that “deception occurs if there is a representation, omission, or practice that is likely to mislead the consumer acting reasonably in the circumstances, to the consumer's detriment.”

See: Deceit

[Last updated in July of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team