The Lowdown on How to Avoid Con Artists

Think you can’t get conned? Think again

George J. Ziogas


Photo: Pixel-Shot / Adobe Stock

Imagine this; a new acquaintance needs money to visit their sick mother. You open your wallet and hand them cash toward paying for the journey. Feeling good about your deed, you skip along the road. Later, you stop, inhale, and break out into a sweat. The realization that you’ve been a chump dawns on you. Maybe you were hoodwinked. But how can you identify a crook? These signs will help you recognize con artists.

Do you think a con artist can fool you? Perhaps you’ve already been fleeced by a crook. You may wonder why you didn’t see through their facade. Doubtless, you want to know how tricksters deceive people and get them to hand over money.

According to author Maria Konnikova, there are definite signs when a con artist has you in their sights. She talks about the ins and outs of being double-crossed in The Confidence Game.


Have you met someone who seems perfect in every way? Few humans are faultless, but fraudsters create a wholesome image. The idea is to make you believe they’re incredibly likable.

A con artist will make you think well of them. They know you’ll find their personality attractive if it’s like yours. Everyone’s ego laps up sweet words and attention, and con artists understand how to make you purr.

If you love tennis, your likable fraudster does as well. If you enjoy black and white films about gangsters, join the club. The con artist who wants something from you will say they have an immense collection of old mobster movies at home.


Konnikova says fraudsters eagerly gather information about their soon-to-be victims. They will learn your weak points and use them as calls to action. If they know you love polar bears, for instance, they might tell you they need money to fund a project to stop the global warming that threatens to wipe out your big furry pals.

Occasionally, you might meet a soulmate who is like you in every way. Even so, be wary of somebody who shares how alike you are soon after you first meet. It takes time to get to know people. Under normal circumstances, it could take months to discover…



George J. Ziogas

Manners will take you where money won’t | HR Consultant | OHS Specialist | Personal Trainer |