Con Artist Alert

by Brian on March 18, 2010

Scammer is just another name for “Con Artist” and seems to be the token name for people on the Internet trying to con people out of their cash.

I have no tolerance for con artists… I think people who are out to scam other people should be shot in the stomach then thrown in prison for the rest of their lives. That’s just me.

Where did “con artist” come from?

Con artists have been around as long as people have been around. How someone’s morality can just get tossed out the window, I don’t know.

It seems to me the Internet is the haven for con artists.

“Con” comes from the word “confidence.” A con artist’s goal is to gain your complete confidence so they can take your money and/ or valuables.

The first time I was conned, I was about 8 years old at a carnival that came through town. I remember clear as day when the carnie said, “Step right up and see the woman who is half snake… She was found in the Amazon and now we have her here for all the world to see… it’s only $.50 to see the 8th wonder of the world.

How cool is that?

The huge disappointment I felt when I saw it was a woman in a horrible costume left a sinking feeling in my stomach. I just lost my $.50… And I knew I had been taken advantage of.

Who can fall prey to a con artist?

Anyone. It doesn’t matter what class a person comes from. Some of the common traits con artists look for:

  • Greed… Offering a huge return on investment that sounds too good to be true. Look at all of the investors who gave Madoff money and didn’t question the large returns they were getting in a down market. It’s hard to have compassion for these people because greed is looked at as such a bad thing… But everyone is greedy.
  • Compassion… After 911 it’s estimated that the money donated by tens of thousands of people for the victims’ families never got further than the con artists’ pockets who set up fake relief organizations.
  • Naivete… This is like the person trying to pass off a fake Rolex as a real one… Or a fake LV or Coach purse as a real one. Right now you can go on eBay and find $200 Hugo Boss shirts new for $30… I had a former employee of mine who bought half a dozen Hugo Boss and Diesel shirts for less than $200 off of eBay… they were all very obvious knockoffs.
  • Credulity/ Ignorance… Some people believe just about anything you tell them with little or no evidence to support it. It’s like people who are superstitious and believe that at the end of a rainbow is a pot of gold. Or they believe that their email address really won 51.2 million dollars, but they have to send $1,500 to Nigeria to get it.
  • Desperation… People who are in desperate need of a job, money, place to live, mortgage and things along those lines. Look at how many people were taken advantage of by unscrupulous mortgage companies and lenders.

The traits all con artists have.

  • Confidence in themselves… They believe what they are saying… if they don’t believe in themselves, they know you won’t either.
  • “Honesty If someone brags about how honest they are, there is a reason for that. One dead give away is when someone says to you, “To be honest with you… To tell you the truth… The truth of the matter is…” When those words come out of someone’s mouth, it’s a Freudian slip. It means they weren’t being honest with you before or are getting ready to lie to you right now.
  • Smooth talking… When everything that comes out of a person’s mouth is what you want to hear, take a step back and ask yourself, “Is this too good to be true?” This includes sales pages…
  • Constant Pressure… The pressure may not be super strong… But if someone is constantly pushing you to do something, whose best interest are they looking out for?

How to help avoid being conned.

There’s no sure fire way to avoid being conned, but here are some things you can do to help decrease your chances:

  • Ask questions and get straight answers… Vague answers are never a good sign. If someone is asking you for money but can’t give you a straight answer to your questions, don’t give them money.
  • Research the person/ organization… Get on the Internet and dig. A lot of people rely on the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Don’t stop there. Almost any business can be a member of the BBB, all they have to do is pay a membership fee. Look up their name in Google with the word “scam” behind it.
  • Get contact information… If someone asking you for money isn’t willing to provide their name, address and phone number, don’t provide them with your cash.
  • Go with your gut… If it doesn’t feel right to you, don’t do it. The world is not going to end if you don’t do something you don’t feel right about.

If you get conned, don’t beat yourself up over it.

Everybody has been conned at least once. If you don’t know your history look up, “The Tonkin Incident.” The U.S. government conned the world by “showing justification” to enter Vietnam.

On the Internet there are tons of scams… If you buy tons of different products and courses online, it’s very likely you will run across at least one, if not more.

Now what?

The biggest relief is when you avoid being conned. So learn from your mistakes and the mistakes of others.

Keep the simple rule of thumb in mind…
“If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”

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