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 You are here: Home > Backstage Tour >  How con scammers set up their victims  1 - 2 - 3               


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

Where did my money go?

How do I find my money?



Investment scams - financial scams - Ponzi schemes


The Mark, The Money, The Getaway: The 10 STEPS all con artists use to set up their victims:


The method for a large, multi-layer investment scam is extremely precise.  Although script variations are infinite, the basic plot never changes.  The best description is found in The Big Con: The Story of the Confidence Man by David W. Maurer (page 4).



In the big con games the steps are these:

  1. Locating and investigating you, the potential victim, called a 'mark' or a 'target'.

  2. Gaining your confidence

  3. Steering you to meet the insideman

  4. Permitting the insideman to show you how you can make a large amount of money

  5. Determining exactly how much you will invest

  6. Sending you home for this amount of money

  7. Playing you against a big store*

  8. Allowing you to make a substantial profit so you will persuade others to invest and so that you will invest more of your own money [then fleecing you] NOTE: Nigerian scammers skip this step.

  9. Getting you out of the way as quietly as possible

  10. Forestalling action by law enforcement [by making you promises and by threatening you]

* A big store or big con game can be a Nigerian scam, a High-Yield Investment Program scam, Debenture Trading, Leasing Financial Documents, a bogus investment company, or any of a number of other financial scams involving substantial sums of money from a single victim or small group of victims.  See the Dictionary of Financial Scam Terms© and ScamSpeak™: Nigerian Scams.

Let's take a closer look at those steps >







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