Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 5 October 2008





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

How they steal your life!

Mindset of a con man:

News reports of last two weeks indicate what a gullible nation we are. At least, some of them! It seems we have not yet learnt the lesson of Gold Quest and Seagulls. Thousands of people were once again duped by a con man who offered unbelievable returns for their investments. The con master has vanished into the thin air with over with Rupees 650 million of hard-earned money of the unsuspecting public.

This article attempts to analyze the mindset of a con man and few tips of how to recognize him.

Definition- wise, a con man, or confidence trickster, is a swindler who works by gaining the confidence of the person he is going to swindle. In recent history there have been thousands of con men who have really stood out for either the wealth they amassed, or the ease with which they tricked people.

Confidence tricksters often rely on the greed of the person, who may think that he has got a fantastic deal, only to discover that he has been manipulated into losing from the very beginning. This is such a general principle in confidence tricks that there is a saying among con men that "you can't cheat an intelligent man. Origin The term con man was first used in the mid-19th century at the trial of William Thompson.

William Thompson was a strange man. He talked New Yorkers into giving him their watches. Here' how he did it: A well-dressed Thompson would wander up to men on the street and act as though he and the prospect were old friends. Embarrassed, the prospect would go along, all the time thinking he must know Thompson from somewhere. Then Thompson would deliver his line, have you confidence in me to trust me with your watch until tomorrow

An astonishing number of people did have confidence in Thompson. They handed over their watches, and sometimes money, fully expecting that their possessions would be returned. Of course they never were.

His brazen line earned Thompson the nickname, The Confidence Man; soon swindlers all over were known as confidence men and con men The victims One cornerstone of the con man is that he rarely looks like a con man. His aim at specific targets is well organized, focused, and pinpoint. It comes through like a telepathic echo.

His foremost candidates for casualty are:

1. The elderly. Good net worth, failing memories and a generally trusting nature. Pensioners and retired mercantile employees belong to this category. They want to earn an extra buck for their life-long saving. You cannot blame them because cost of living doesn't match with their monthly income. These folks have been found the easiest to separate from their money.

2. Women. They are still considered to be the helpless sex when it comes to defending themselves in most sorts of business transactions (a changing scene, but one not changing fast enough). Do they have the strength of right reasoning? You guess.

3. People who live alone. While dogs and cats can be delightful companions, the con man still thrives on filling this "loneliness" gap-a desire for occasional human camaraderie. After all, there has to be something more left in life than being the crotchety old man, standing on the porch in his pyjamas, yelling at the kids to get off the lawn.

4. Pious people. This means church/temple goers and anyone known for charitable giving. This, to the con man, is like establishing a tributary connection to a flowing river. Many of this type are generous to a fault.

These are people who, when they try to use a credit card and a family member chases them with a scissors, they should take the hint and not use it.

After taking on these primary groups the con man's thrust is simple: Go after any assets that show, be they EPF proceeds, pensions, savings, retirement benefits or, best of all, just plain old cash.All told, the con man's search for primary group of victims concentrates on these, considered to be, most vulnerable groups. His secondary group is YOU.

If you always wanted to be a procrastinator, but never got around to it, the time is ripe when dealing with a con man who reveals to you who he really is-makes you realize an important double whammy of life. That is, money can't buy you everything, and, then again, neither can no-money. You may just be ordinary clerk, a captain of Industry, or a prominent politician but knowing the Rules of con man's Game is essential to protecting your money and all financial assets from him.

Con man's game

Remember: With the ringing sincerity of a insurance canvasser's hand shake, you are often asked to accept with blind faith many supposed fact of life." For example, if he wants you to invest your EPF withdrawal with his company, the discussion might start like this: The Bank is giving you only 2% per month for your investment.

That is why Bankers are millionaires. They can easily pay you 8%. We will give you 6%. We will give you a share certificate so that you become a stake holder of the Company. Annual dividends are guarantee at least 20%. He takes from his expensive briefcase a calculator. For a brief moment you see inside the briefcase neatly packed files with names of blue-chip companies.Accidently, a letter falls to the ground and he picks it up. The letterhead is from a major business conglomerate. He says, This Company wants to invest 10 million. He then shows you a heap of papers. Look at my colleagues. He shows you a beautifully done company profile.

You find well known personalities as advisors. He pulls out an Album He shows you photographs of him with renowned personalities.

Even before he finishes you've made up mind to invest your money.

No hint, suggestion, or innuendo is ever offered that a strict Rules Regimen was foisted on you-to maneuver you into a vulnerable state.

What rules must the con man follow in order to fleece, pillage, and plunder-to rob, steal, embezzle, and defraud?

There are Rules of the Game. The con man must learn these Rules well, if he hopes to insulate himself from the consequences of pick-pocketing your wallet.

Now, visualize yourself as the con man. Up, up, and away then. Here we go, with these international sacrosanct Rules which you must follow in order to be successful:

1. You must always instill a firm "Us against Them" feeling in your prospects. They must be constantly led to believe that only your philosophy is the correct one. You must inculcate in them the urgency of taking action so strongly that it would sound like losing it would be akin to being sentenced to cutting an acre of grass-with their teeth.

2. The end always justifies the means because you are playing a zero sum game. Either you have it, or don't-or "they" have it, or don't. Setting up a very tangible, clear cut goal, but one cloaked in mystery, is a stealth strategy that pays off. Yes, it's the bringing together of these seemingly conflicting elements that does it.

3. Rules only apply to your enemies. Not to you! You are the con man.

Don't ever forget it. Always demand that your prospects religiously follow your Rules.

4. Pin-point these Rules. Spell them out. The old axiom-give me ambiguity or give me something else-has no place here.

5. Ruthlessness is essential. You must do whatever it takes to create and maintain power and control. As a cunning, skillful con man, exercise your white-knuckle grip.

6. A respectable public face is essential. If you have overcome a dread disease, talk about it.

(If not, make one up.) If you served in the Armed Forces, burnish your image by making yourself a war hero. Proclaim yourself a born-again teacher or consultant. Everybody loves a hero. These are just a few examples of options you have.

7. Manipulation, blackmail, bribery, lies, and half-truths are all allowed, if they will further your ends. Remember, a kick in the butt is only a few inches from a pat on the back.

8. Without exception, always claim the high moral ground. Let it be known that God, Allah or even Triple Gem is on your side.

9. Create a “Code,” within which you can give orders without it being known that you are giving orders.

Guard yourself from any incriminating connection. (You can’t really be expected to answer an anonymous letter.)

10. Use disinformation readily. It is a great tool for conning and manipulating.

Do it, constantly. You can’t give your prospects a coffee break; it would take too long to retrain them.

11. Keep as few records as possible. Share your records—only—on a strict need-to- know basis. And, with only the dumbest, most inept people in your following! (Like giving a drunk another drink to sober him up.)

12. Never pay directly for any criminal services you might require—forgers, bribers, etc. Always use an indirect method, so nobody can connect you, if discovered. Use a pseudo name.

13. If anything goes wrong, deny the allegation and damn the alligator.

Start a verbal fire storm. Remember it doesn’t matter what the temperature is, it’s always room temperature. The world of the con man is, purposely, so filled with confusion and distortion that everything is either a half-truth or a half-lie, depending upon which version you are talking about.Thus, in the final analysis, it’s the one who slices the bread that controls its distribution on the bread line. You—as the potential victim, then—must be able to recognize all the slight-of-hand trickery of the one operating the slicer.

Only then you can guard yourself from rationing. And, perhaps, even starvation.

Good luck!



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