Most people find it difficult to believe that likeable, sociable people could be fakes—that behind their smiling masks they are scheming to hurt, deceive and dominate. Con artists look pretty much like everyone one else. Their brains, however, are wired quite differently and they have a host of predatory values, beliefs and behaviors that make conning people very easy.
For con artists, it’s all about “the game.” Their calculating and deceptive minds focus on winning and reduces life to contests and seeing people to victims and marks.
Because they grew up conning, adult con artists have had a lifetime to perfect their skills. Each con job helps them increase their skills at manipulation and deceit, which encourages them to try something bigger and bolder the next time.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about con artists, however, is their ability to instantly recognize an ideal mark: someone who is decent, innocent and trusting. Even more amazing is that people who have consciences find it extremely hard for them to recognize con men. This is a real “hand-in-glove” situation. How ideal for cons!
Con Artists’ Specialized Skills
It’s important to know just how skilled these people are, because you need a healthy respect for them. They are much more dangerous that you likely realize.
Con artists lack a conscience and therefore don’t value close or intimate relationships. They have a different focus for their lives: games. To them, life is just one game after another. And the goal is winning. Nothing else matters.
They see people as targets—chess pieces to manipulate, lie to and prey on. Believing themselves smarter and superior, they work to dominate and bend your will in order to con you.
Con artists are often able to juggle several con job “projects” at once without missing a beat, because they are very good at compartmentalizing. Their unusual brains allow them to separate different targets and on-going scams in their minds.
These multi-trackers often have exceptional memories that can access things at lightening speed. Should they lose a fact (or lie), they can quickly maneuver around their lapse, and do it so convincingly that no one is the smarter.
Once con artists make you their target, they whip out their arsenal of mindf*ck tools to move you from a position of having personal control to one of having no control. They quickly take a position of power.
What Con Artists Want
Con artists want two things: to steal material things from you such as your money or property, or to manipulate you in some way for sex. Some con artists are after both. Those seeking sex, however, are into conning more for thrills related to power, control and domination. Remember, con artists aren’t into emotional intimacy and relationships.
Where to Look for Con Artists
Large institutions make great hiding places for con artists, as they provide personal credibility and a front to hide their deceit. They work hard at creating public images to make them look trustworthy, reputable and safe.
It doesn’t really matter what the institution’s focus is—religion, finance, education, media, politics or government. The critical factor is having easy access to targets who will unwittingly cooperate with them.
Relational con artists work one-on-one, and are also after either your money/property or sex. Their search for power and exploitation is more personal. These charismatic people with dynamic personalities tend to be loners. They lack the kind of social skills required to operate as con artists inside corporations or organizations, and prefer the one-on-one con.
Relational con artists prey on your weaknesses—your greed, irresponsibility, soft-heartedness, naiveté, fear, gullibility and co-dependency. The mental health of relational con artists ranges from being neurotic and wounded to being psychotic and violent.
Relational con artists get their thrills partly by being covert and invisible to those around them. Those with the most antisocial tendencies prefer moving in the shadows of society and are more often the psychopathic killer types prone to commit violence. They patiently look for just the right marks and take their time in stalking them, which contributes to the thrill factor. For them, stalking is a perverted kind of “foreplay.”
How to Spot Con Artists
Here’s the How to Spot Con Artists. Here are some of the most common:
- are extroverted, talk fast and want to move quickly into things
- have a lot of charm, magnetism and charisma—even a “glow”
- appear sexy or have strong sexual magnetism
- present themselves as heroes with high morals and philosophy
- tend to be great experts on any topic being discussed
- are master wordsmiths, even expert storytellers & poets
- invent bizarre tales, say and do grandiose things
- blatantly re-write history
- deliver intriguing and hypnotic monologues that snow people
- create stories on the spur of the moment that are impossible to confirm or deny
- rely on claims that cannot be proven or validated to create a false sense of authority, spirituality or “special” knowledge
- take risks others wouldn’t and then use their risk-taking to intimidate
- are good at out-smarting others