“Bidcactus is a scam

“Gadget Boost is fraud

SCAM: Draper Super Bee Apiaries Inc”

“PeopleFinders totally scammed me”

“Bill Me Later is a complete con and joke!”

“IBM Lender - Online payment scam?”

“Fred Phelps is a con man

“Gillece - Complete scam artists. Stay Away!!!”

“Wealth management is a con trick”

These are the words, most used by our pissed customers. It is no better way to piss of a consumer than by scam /con/fraud/swindle/ ploy/ hoax … The most widespread deception practices have an adequate lexical presentation.

Hence now and then people use the scam-word loosely. As well as the con-word and all those other words. Those words are becoming synonymous with legit business gone wrong. Ain’t the same, people. Wrong business transaction - not yet a scam, exaggerated marketing – not yet a con. Being deprived of something (everything) by deceit – that’s a real con. The real art of deception.

Con stands for ‘confidence’. Whose confidence? Both the scammer and the scammed. The scammer is confident he can trick the fool, the scammed is confident there is no trick and he is not a fool.

According to census, a sucker is born every minute. Naturally, the gullible are put on this earth to be gulled. And naturally there is no shortage of tricksters waiting to relieve them of their wealth.

No one enjoys being bamboozled. Everyone is trying to be cautious, intuitive and observant. Everyone knows: if something is too good to be true – it’s a scam. What’s true is usually bad. The popular ‘get rich quick’ is a quack. The endemic ‘get poor quick’ is a true thing. But no one enjoys it as well. What everyone does enjoy is a good deal (which hopefully turns to be a real deal.) Everyone enjoys being smart and confident, and not stupid and conned.

Ironically, ‘smart and confident’ is what defines a con artist. They may have no ethics, they may be deceitful and deplorable, but they are not stupid. You are. At least, that’s what they think of you. At least, they hope you are. Stupid consumers - easy money. And thanks to the Internet, fishing for vulnerable buyers has never been easier.

No one enjoys to be taken for a fool. Everyone is trying to outswindle the swindler and show him who the real fool is. Everyone is reading books and watching movies about famous con artists. Someone is researching online scam reports to be prepared. And no one can deny that some cons are absolutely genius. Dishonest but genius. Appalling but brilliant. Ain’t stupid by any means.
And someone even decides to become a con artist. Someone has read, watched and researched, and got prepared. The opportunities are endless. The risk? Catch me if you can.

Someone can start the legendary ‘get-huge-return-on-small-investment’. He will bring out the worst of people and benefit from their greed, fear, and insecurity. Grow up, people. Don't believe in something-for-nothing offers. You get what you pay for.
Someone can start collecting for fake charity. In a way he’ll bring out the best of people. Ultimately, he’ll take advantage of people’s good will and compassion. This ain’t nice.

Someone will put a fake 'out of order' notice on an ATM deposit machine and stand nearby in a guard's uniform. He will offer to take people's deposits - giving them an official receipt, of course. He can also ask for other personal details, like PIN numbers. Can he expect people to fall for this con? Are people really this stupid? If not stupid, then very obedient. Our Someone is wearing a uniform – a symbol of authority, which people obey unquestioningly.

Another one will open a Valet Parking operated by car thieves. Again, a nice uniform and a badge. A fake sign outside a posh venue offering to park people's cars. He will park your car alright, just not where you expect. He will also get a nicely printed form with your address that you filled before he took off in your vehicle. Since your home key is likely on the same ring as the car keys, he will probably visit your home in near future.

Someone will arrange Movie Auditions for aspiring stars. He will interview desperate hopefuls in a local hotel, he’ll get them do some acting. He’ll tell them they are wonderful. And then he’ll charge them for future services, such as joining actors’ guild, arranging photo shoots, hiring stylist and so on. Will people fall for this? Aspiring actors we are talking about. You bet they will.

Someone who has read, watched and researched the legacy of con can just refresh the famous fiddles. Following “The Sting” movie or the “King of the Hill” episode he can put a new twist on the Wire Game and Big Store con, a “Nights of Cabiria” fan can apply the Romance Scam to Internet dating, “And Be a Villain“ novel and episodes of “The Simpsons” will start him on the Football Picks, a “Matchstick Men” follower is ready for Lottery Fraud By Proxy. Combine the movie “Edmond” and episodes of “Newsradio” and “Everybody Hates Chris” with “The Simpsons” and “Matchstick Men”, and you are set for Three-Card Monte. Someone can learn Paranoia con from “Monk”, Pigeon Drop – from “Lost” and “The Sting”, Psychic Surgery – from “Man on the Moon”…

Just read, watch and research. Be inventive and confident.

Someone can become a pro of con. Con offers endless opportunities. Including long-term imprisonment. But it is not easy to catch con men. They are confident.  And ain’t stupid.