Hey there, Steve here and welcome to this week’s ‘private eye’ post. Today we’re going to look at a specific type of fraud – the con.
Fraud is commonplace. Check out the police stats for any state and you’ll see a heap of fraud convictions. Make sure you’re not a fraud victim – contact me if you think you’re the ‘mark’ in a con.
Count Lustig, a famous french con man who sold the Eiffel Tower twice, made a list of 10 commandments for the con man. You can read it here: http://www.listsofnote.com/2012/02/10-commandments-for-con-men.html.
Check out the very first commandment – listening.
Everyone automatically thinks a con man will be a fast-talking, smooth operator. This is not true.
Con men are much more likely to be extremely good listeners. They need information to be able to work their charms on us mortal creatures. They want us to think we have things in common, so they’ll lie about what they like and don’t like to match us and create a bond.
Con is short for confidence. And con men and women have it in abundance. You probably watched ‘Catch Me If You Can’ and saw how Frank Abagnale took control of a passenger jet, even though he’d never flown a plane in his life.
And it takes nerves of steel to pull off a con. Most people aren’t aware they’re being conned because they can’t imagine putting themselves in the con man’s shoes. Who would have thought someone wearing a Pan Am uniform and acting like a pilot, wasn’t really a pilot for Pan Am? It simply doesn’t cross our minds, as we go about our daily lives.
Although there are many types of cons, there are 3 main signs you can watch out for.
#1 – A Quickly Built Relationship
Whatever the con, they have to engage you. And for the con artist, they want to get things done as quickly as possible. This means striking a relationship and building it quickly. If someone new comes into your life, try stripping out the stories they tell you and ask yourself if the actions they’re asking of you are normal. For example, sending money to someone you met 3 weeks ago online but have never met in real life, sounds crazy. But when you’ve spent 6 hours a day talking on the phone, and you feel like you know and trust that person, it doesn’t seem crazy at all. It’s how so many people lose thousands of dollars. So, look at the actions not the words.
#2 – Exploitation Of The Unfamiliar
Sometimes con men will take advantage of people in unfamiliar situations. These are usually ‘short’ cons. They may pose, either in person, on the phone, or online, as someone in a position of authority and ask for instant money to resolve a situation. (One they’ve created of course!)
This short video shows the extreme lengths con men will go to:
#3 – A Unique Situation
If someone new comes into your life, and in a very short time you have the opportunity to take advantage of a unique set of circumstances, a once in a lifetime situation, don’t take the opportunity. Run away as fast as you can. Or call us and we’ll investigate for you, if you really think it’s genuine.
Con man are great persuaders. Great salespeople, with an imagination to weave a story upon unsuspecting marks. But they’ll still display signs of lying, which you can find in our post about signs of cheating partners.
If you would like to discuss any situation you’re in right now, please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone or use our live chat feature.
Til, next week – Steve.