Ways Cheaters Get Caught

Study

The Top 9 Most Common Ways Cheaters Get Caught

Amber Brooks

Written by: Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks is the Editor-in-Chief at DatingAdvice.com. When she was growing up, her family teased her for being "boy crazy," but she preferred to think of herself as a budding dating and relationship expert. As an English major at the University of Florida, Amber honed her communication skills to write clearly, knowledgeably, and passionately about a variety of subjects. Now with over 1,800 lifestyle articles to her name, Amber brings her tireless wit and relatable experiences to DatingAdvice.com. She has been quoted by the Washington Times, Cosmopolitan, The New York Post, and AskMen.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

Reviewed by: Sheena Holt

Sheena Holt

Sheena Holt comes to DatingAdvice with a BA in English and creative writing. She has written for numerous literary, culture, and satire publications.

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For obvious reasons, the exact number of cheaters was once unclear. But that was before we conducted a revealing study. We surveyed more than 1,000 people in a relationship to discover not so much whether they’ve cheated — but how they or their partner got caught red-handed.

What we discovered was mind-boggling: 83% have been involved in a cheating relationship, with the stats climbing to a staggering 93% among Gen Z, compared to 80% for millennials.

The really juice thing, though? It’s how people are caught cheating. We learned that most partners get caught by text messages and DMs. 

But what other ways are cheaters uncovered? 

And how often is it that a stray condom catches someone out? The answer might surprise you. 

Key Takeaways:

  • 83% of people have been involved in a cheating relationship, with Gen Z reporting higher involvement at 93% compared to 80% of millennials.
  • 23% of cheaters are exposed when partners snoop through phones and find incriminating texts and DMs, making it the highest in our survey.
  • Unusual credit card statements, like hotel charges, catch 16% of men and 10% of women.
  • 34% of millennials confront their partners about cheating suspicions, while 22% of Gen-Z’s do the same.
  • Catching partners cheating on dating apps (while also cheating on dating apps) happens more with Gen Z, with a 19% catch rate compared to 14% for millennials.
  • 26% of millennials voluntarily confess to affairs, compared to 18% of younger individuals.
  • Nearly 20% of Gen-Z cheaters are caught in the act due to carelessness.

40.2% of Cheating Millennials Are Caught Via Text

Many have done it. 

They’ve snooped on their partner’s phone when they’ve nipped out of the room to see who they’ve been texting. 

What they might not always expect to find are DMs that suggest their partner has been having sex with someone else. 

40.2% of cheating millennials are caught via text

As it turns out, checking your partner’s phone is by far the easiest way to catch a cheater.

As many as 40.2% of millennials have been caught cheating after their partners checked their phones and saw their telltale texts and DMs. While only 22.94% of Gen-Zers were caught this way, it’s still the most common method of getting caught cheating. 

It figures — we’ve all got a phone. And unless you cover your tracks pretty well, your phone will come back to bite you. 

34.12% of Millennials Are Confronted About Their Cheating 

While some people hate confrontation, there comes a time when we simply have to speak to our partner about “stuff.”

And this is never truer than when it comes to cheating. 

34.12% of millennials are confronted about cheating

34.12% of millennials surveyed and 21.83% of Gen-Zers are caught when their partner confronts them. They had a hunch, decided to ask their partner about it, and their partner was either a very bad liar or they confessed. 

Here are the full results of our Gen Z vs millennials cheating habit survey:

Comparison of Gen Z and millennials

Naturally, this is one of the hardest ways to uncover cheating. After all, you don’t know for sure that your partner is cheating, which means that accusing them could end up eroding trust. 

More Men Are Caught by Credit Card Statements Than Women 

The stereotype is that women love to borrow their partner’s credit cards to go shopping. They rack up bills buying shoes, new outfits, and anything else they can think of. 

But it’s actually guys who are caught much more than women by a suspicious credit card statement.

16.27% of men have been caught by credit card statements

For example, it might be that a guy booked an expensive hotel room for one night when they told their partner they were doing something else. The statement reads “five-star hotel” — and it’s checkmate. 

It makes sense, of course — men tend to take the initiative when it comes to arranging dates and getting things booked, as 16.27% of men surveyed have been caught cheating this way, compared to just 8.84% of women. 

While More Women Than Men Have Been Found Cheating on a Dating App

18.83% of women have been caught red-handed on a dating app by their partner versus 15.57% of men. 

18.83% of women have been caught cheating on an app

The funny thing about this survey result is that — according to the people we surveyed — they were caught cheating by their partner who was also cheating. 

In other words, the man or woman hadn’t pretended to be someone else to confirm their suspicions that their partner was using a dating app. Instead, they had unwittingly matched with their partner while looking for an affair themselves!

Maybe they were meant to be, after all?! 

It also makes you wonder who unmatched first … or who said, “Hey, come here often?” 

Here are the rest of our male-to-female comparisons showing how women got caught vs men:

Male versus female comparison

Millennials Are More Likely to Confess Their Affair

The reality is that most people won’t admit to their affairs, taking the gamble that their partner won’t ever find out. 

What’s more, coming clean even though our partners have zero suspicions could do more harm than good.

26.01% of millennials have owned up to cheating

However, it’s sometimes the case that the guilt eats away at a cheating partner so much that they eventually confess to their affairs without even being caught first. Either they can’t take their guilty conscience anymore, or they’d rather speak up first before their partner eventually finds out. 

According to our survey, 26.01% of millennials say they’ve voluntarily owned up to their cheating. Gen-Zers, on the other hand, are a bit more guarded, with just 18.17% of people aged 18-27 voluntarily admitting their guilt. 

Does this mean that we feel guiltier as we get older? It’s one way of looking at it. Another way is that younger people might be prepared to take the risk that their partners won’t find out about their indiscretions and that it’s better for everyone if they just stay quiet. 

Sometimes, it’s a Stray Condom That Gets You!

The thing about cheating is that it’s hard. You’ve got to cover all bases and account for every single potential mistake. Such as a stray condom or sus text message.

Physical evidence is one of the most common reasons that Gen-Z cheaters get caught, with 19.82% of those surveyed admitting that it’s a found item (such as perfume receipts, flowers, or a condom) that traps them. 

19.82% of Gen Zs admitted to finding evidence of cheating

Millennials are even worse at getting rid of the evidence, with 24.32% of those questioned saying that a found item has been their undoing. 

Understandably, women are better at getting rid of damning evidence than men, probably because they generally pay more attention. Even still, as many as 20.29% of female cheaters are caught this way. 

People in Memphis More Likely to be Informed Upon

A whopping 46.15% of cheaters surveyed in Memphis were found out when someone else, presumably the person they were cheating with, informed them.

This goes against the norm, with people in most other U.S. cities caught via text message. 

The lesson? Be careful who you trust in the Home of the Blues. 

46.15% of cheaters in Memphis were caught by someone they knew

That said, “informed by others” was also the joint most common way to get caught cheating in Philadelphia, along with text messages and DMs. 

Physical evidence was the most common way to get caught in San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Austin, with careless adulterers neglecting to get rid of the evidence before it’s too late. Too busy partying? Maybe.  

In Boston, meanwhile, it seems that intuition is higher here than anywhere else, with 30.14% of cheaters trapped when their partner has a hunch that something isn’t right — making it the only U.S. city we surveyed where personal intuition was the most common method of catching someone cheating. 

Here’s a full list of cities in our study, along with the number one way of getting caught for each:

How cheaters get caught by city

Final Thoughts

Perhaps the most eye-opening thing in this survey is that only 16.82% of those surveyed said neither they nor their partner had cheated in any of their relationships. This means that, of all the people we questioned, more than two-thirds have cheated or been cheated on. 

Top 9 Ways Cheaters Got Caught

For those who have experienced cheating in some form, it was clear that both Gen-Z and millennial cheaters are most commonly caught red-handed by their phones. 

And FYI, even if you don’t confess and there’s no way your phone will give you up, 18.53% of all cheaters are found out when the person they cheated with snitches on them. Ouch. Is that what’s known as karma?