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Is It Illegal to Lie About Your Age

Lying about your age

Sometimes your age can be a hindrance to you acquiring things in life. For example, only adults can watch R-rated movies or buy alcohol. Or companies would only like to hire employees from a specific age group. Sot it might seem a little tempting to lie about your age because of this. 

It seems unfair, so some people like to lie about their age to achieve their goals. But if such laws and rules came about for specific reasons, you can help but wonder, “Is it illegal to lie about your age?” Well, the answer to that may not be as simple as it seems.

Lying About Your Age in Social Media

Many websites in the US and online services won’t allow children under 13 years of age to comply with the US Federal Law Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act to prevent website operators from collecting data from children under 13 years of age without parental consent. But it’s easy to avoid a ban since children can just falsify their age when making an account, especially with the help of an adult.

Overall, lying about your age on social media is the same as you lying in real life with your friends. So nothing will most likely happen to you. But one significant risk that authorities take seriously is the risk of criminals lying about their age to commit sex crimes online. Minors are the only ones who authorities can’t convict with this.

For example, if a minor talked to an adult online and they lied about their age when asked, no criminal charges will fall on them. But adults who lie about their age to commit sexual acts with minors are a crime in most places. In California, arranging a meet-up with a minor  that is sexually motivated is already a crime. And the possible charges against you can be serious, like statutory rape, which can lead to significant jail time and registering as a sex offender, ruining your social reputation.

Lying About Your Age to Get Hired

Due to the pandemic, older people faced some discrimination since they were the most vulnerable. So companies began to favor younger applicants. This led to many lawsuits against companies for discriminating against old applicants.

But age fabrication is not new in the job application process. In 2017, British market research firm YouGov surveyed job applicants and discovered that most of them lied about their education and qualifications. But one thing that stood out was that 3% of the applicants were lying about their age on their resume.

So, should you lie about your age in your resume or when you apply for a job?

Ethical Considerations

Most companies value honesty in their workforce. And it can be unethical for you to lie about your age in your application process. If you are a licensed professional and commit age fabrication, your employer may complain to the licensing board, jeopardizing your license.

Another thing to watch out for is federal jobs that involve law enforcement. They typically have a specific age group they want to hire. And lying about your age in the application process can lead to prosecution for making fraudulent and false statements, letting you face fines and imprisonment. 

A few years back, Fox News commentator Wayne Simmons received a 33-month prison sentence for lying that he worked in the Central Intelligence Agency for almost three decades.

Most employment applications contain disclaimers that they can terminate you for lying. Even if they discovered the lie decades later, it could prevent you from filing a lawsuit against your employer or reduce compensation for the damages you seek.

Odds Of Success?  

So, what are the odds of success of you lying about your age in your application and getting hired? Well, it would be foolhardy to think that a 65-year-old lady can apply for a position with an age requirement of 21. The lie would just be too obvious. So, you’ll have a better chance if you add or shave a few years in your application. 

At some point, you may have to ask how much a few years can affect your appearance.

Employment Status

In the US, the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 will require employers to file a Form I-9 document with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The form has a section that workers fill out after getting hired but before their first day. And it includes the date of birth. If you are thinking about lying about your age, a note in the form warns about falsifying statements and documents. Doing so can lead to fines and/or imprisonment. 

If you are migrating to Canada to work, you’d also need to be truthful about your age when getting interviewed by an IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, Citizenship Canada) officer. They are very strict against immigration fraud. And lying about your age can lead to you getting:

  • A 5-year ban from entering Canada
  • A Permanent fraud record
  • Your Canadian citizen or permanent resident status taken away
  • A criminal conviction or
  • Removed from Canada

Workers Who May Be Able To Lie About Their Age

While it is true that most jobs require you to be honest about your age, there are those that don’t require you to do so. For example, a Hollywood actress doesn’t need to be truthful about their age since they are an independent contractor. You are working for yourself and providing service to another entity under the terms of the contract. 

Other workers that can lie about their age are:

  • Those who perform casual domestic labor in private properties on a specific or irregular basis
  • Workers who contractors employ to provide services to employers. It’s the contractors who need to ensure that the workers they provide have no falsified documents or statements
  • People who are not physically working in their country of employment


Some people tend to lie about their age online and in real life. And most of the time, it’s not a big deal. It’s when you falsify information about yourself to commit crimes or gain something that may get you in trouble against the law. So if you will lie about your age, do so in a way that you know won’t land you behind bars.

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