How Scam Artists Work

How Scam Artists Work
April 26 09:58 2017 Print This Article

Confidence is usually a good thing, but there are those who use it as a weapon. Confidence artists have been around since antiquity, and they’ve been robbing people blind since the invention of currency. But the best way to protect yourself is by fighting fire with fire, i.e. defending yourself from a con man with some confidence of your own. Here’s “Scamming 101” to help you prepare to tell them “no” with confidence.

Greed

The number one weakness con artists prey on is good old avarice. As a society, we’re all waiting for the day we’re going to stumble over a winning lottery ticket lying in the street. But our grandfathers had it right—you don’t get anything you don’t work for, and ironically the same goes for cons. Con men work hard to convince you they can get you something for nothing. Everything from a shell game to Nigerian princes, they will convince you that for a small investment and a little faith, you will reap riches. It’s never true.

Trust

In some cases, the con is simply a matter of making you think the thief is qualified or authorized to do what they say they’re doing. Most of the time, this comes at your expense. “Microsoft support” calling and telling you they need access to your computer to fix a problem you’ve never heard of? Someone trying to sell the Eiffel Tower? An Ebay customer telling you they need to pay you in a cashier’s check? All require you to trust the thief to make yourself vulnerable long enough to rob.

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Charity

The most depressing cons are the ones that prey on our goodwill. Sometimes con artists will tell a sob story of how they ran out of gas trying to get to the hospital to visit a dying family member. Children in third-world countries will often beg money from American visitors, even when their families are surviving comfortably for that area. A recent Disney film showcased a fox trying to buy a popsicle for his “son” as part of a con. The truth is, you can’t always check for credentials when giving money to a panhandler on the sidewalk, so often the best advice is simply to be wary.

As human beings, we’re inclined to have faith in people, to trust them, especially when they act confident. While having a little faith in humanity is good, a little healthy skepticism goes a long way. So take a moment to think before giving money or information to a stranger. Be smart about it, and do your research.

Remember, there are plenty of transparent, honest businesses out there that are accused of being a scam, like ACN. A simple Google search will help you identify the real reviews from the biased, mad reviewers.

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Mary Gaines
Mary Gaines

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