People who demonstrate factitious disorders often claim to have physical ailments or be recovering from the consequences of stalking, victimization, harassment, and sexual abuse. Several behaviors present themselves to suggest factors beyond genuine problems. After studying 21 cases of deception, Feldman listed the following common behavior patterns in people who exhibited Münchausen by Internet:
Medical literature from websites or textbooks is often duplicated or discussed in great detail.
The length and severity of purported physical ailments conflicts with user behavior. Feldman uses the example of someone posting in considerable detail about being in septic shock, when such a possibility is extremely unlikely.
Symptoms of ailments may be exaggerated as they correspond to a user's misunderstanding of the nature of an illness.
Grave situations and increasingly critical prognoses are interspersed with "miraculous" recoveries.
A user's posts eventually reveal contradictory information or claims that are implausible: for example, other users of a forum may find that a user has been divulging contradictory information about occurrence or length of hospital visits.
When attention and sympathy decreases to focus on other members of the group, a user may announce that other dire events have transpired, including the illness or death of a close family member.
When faced with insufficient expressions of attention or sympathy, a forum member claims this as a cause that symptoms worsen or do not improve.
A user resists contact beyond the Internet, by telephone or personal visit, often claiming bizarre reasons for not being able to accept such contact.
Further emergencies are described with inappropriate happiness, designed to garner immediate reactions.
Other forum members post on behalf of a user, exhibiting identical writing styles, spelling errors, and language idiosyncrasies, suggesting that the user has created fictitious identities to move the conversation in their direction.