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 You are here: Home > Backstage Tour >  What a swindler will tell you  


Fraud Secrets:

A Backstage Tour

Start the Tour here

Why con artists scam:

You're in for a surprise.

Profile of a con artist

What con artists look for:

How scammers chose their victims.


Why so few scammers go to jail

How con artists set up their victims:

The 10 steps con artists use to get your money.

What a con artist won't tell you: Questions you can ask a scammer that will make him run from you.

What a con artist will tell you

14 excuses a scammer will give you for not returning your money

Have I been scammed?

The line between a scam and poor business ethics can be hard to determine.

Where did my money go?

How do I find my money?



Investment scams - financial scams - Ponzi schemes


Tactics con artists use to manipulate their victims and make them feel helpless

The first step • The next step • The final stepExamples of threats


Since con artists look for ways to manipulate strengths and weaknesses. They will either paint a picture of wealth and ease, or increase your darkest fears, or a combination of both.


In order to do this, a con artist will      

  • play on your sympathies,

  • instill in you a sense of security in dealing with him or her,

  • separate you from your friends and family by placing extreme secrecy on all facets of the deal,

  • convince you to depend only on the scammer and to believe only in the scammer; convince you that your friends and family, banks and law enforcement, are all lying and that only the scammer is telling the truth.

  • and distract you from what is really going on using lies laced with enough truth to make the patter believable.  What we call "sleight of mind."

Their goal is to make you completely dependent on them.

Part of instilling complete dependency is to make you feel that your world may not be safe without their guidance.  Once you realize that none of the promises are forthcoming as you expected, the con artist uses that dependency as a threat.  He or she will yank the leash they have wrapped around your survival instincts, using either subtle scare tactics or outright threats of physical harm to you and your family.  (See What to do about threats from scammers)




The first step is for the con artist to determine your personality profile and identify your needs. He or she might zero in on your pride, your ego, your fears, your dreams, visions of riches, religious conviction, an illness, or your desire to get a special deal, or a combination of several traits.  Whatever works best for the given situation.

The next step is to make himself or herself appear  to be the only person on whom you can rely for the fulfillment of your wishes, desires, and/or personal safety.  Keep in mind that in order for the scam to work, the scam artist will gain your complete and unquestioning trust, and they are very, very skillful at doing this.

The final step is the move on your money or property.  The move may be so fast and skillful that your reaction time is delayed.  If the scam is long and involved,  you will be instilled  with a fear of contacting the authorities.  To accomplish this, the scam artist will use whatever fear is uppermost in your emotional catalog.  In your mind, you will feel that to take any action will either make you look foolish, and/or you will fear retribution from the con artist, and/or you will fear even the authorities themselves.  If the scam has gone on long enough, you have been brainwashed, quite literally, into believing the scam artist more than the authorities and those close to you.




Examples of threats:


1. If the scam is one in which banks are involved, you will be told that you cannot talk with bankers because: "they do not want you to know that deals like this are available and will simply deny the existence of such deals"; "if you talk with the banks, you will lose your money because the banks don't want the deals interfered with"; "the 'trader' will squash anyone's deal if the banks are contacted", etc. etc.

2. Religious scams provide the aura of mystical powers and spiritual magic which are: "too dangerous for you to know and can backfire if not handled properly."  Personal danger is often emphasized.

3. Medical scams offer cures that: "doctors don't want you to know about, so asking them won't do you any good - the medical authorities will only deny that such cures are possible" or "the doctors don't want you to know because this cure would mean a loss of income to them."  You are trapped between desperation for a cure and no means of verifying the information you are being given.

4. Home improvement scams by unlicensed and uninsured "contractors" leave you with enormous expenses, no improvements (and sometimes lots of un-improvements), and a contractor who has disappeared over the hill.

5. Modeling scams will promise you terrific jobs, travel, a world of dreams, and your only chance to get the break you've been looking for.

6. One phrase that is used to death is "If you don't act soon, not only will the deal no longer be available, but it could cost you more money".

7.  You will be made to feel special, admired, and if you don't do what the swindler tells you to do, you will lose it all and he will leave you.

8.  Nigerian-style scammers go straight for extortion and threaten bodily injury or death to you and/or family members if you don't send them money.




The list is endless - it only depends on what you need or think you need at the time.  The con artist will work you over so good that you will be confused to the point of total inaction except for what the con artist wants you to do.  YOU ARE IN A BOX.  YOU HAVE GIVEN AWAY YOUR FREEDOM.  THE CON ARTIST NOW OWNS YOU HEART AND SOUL. 

Or so he would like you to think: Scam victims are not helpless; they are only made to feel that way.


 Discover the 14 most common excuses used by scammers to keep you 'on the hook' >





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