Friday, June 6, 2008

Understanding the Con Man Mind--Your Key to Financial Survival

--Be they a Carnival Shell Game Operator, a Captain of Industry, or a Prominent Politician, knowing the Rules of their Game is essential to Protecting your Money and all Financial Assets from the Con Man

With the ringing sincerity of a used car salesman's hand shake, you are often asked to accept with blind faith many supposed"facts of life"

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 sacrosanct Rules which you must follow in order to be successful:

> You must always instill a firm "Us against Them" feeling in your followers. They must be constantly led to believe that only your philosophy is the correct one in fighting this conspiracy-- out to "get" you. You must inculcate the urgency of winning this battle so strongly among your followers that it would sound like losing it would be akin to being sentenced to cutting an acre of grass--with their teeth.

> 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.

> Rules only apply to your enemies. Not to you, the con man. Always demand that your opponents religiously follow the Rules.
Pin-point these Rules. Spell them out. The old axiom--give me ambiguity or give me something else--has no place here.

> 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.

> 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 sinner. Everybody loves a hero. These are just a few examples of options you have.

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

> Without exception, always claim the high moral ground. Let it be known that God is on your side, and the Devil reincarnate is in the driver's seat of your enemies' attacks on you. It's lonely at the top, but you do eat better.

> 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, can you?)

> Use disinformation readily. It is a great tool for conning and manipulating.
Do it, constantly. You can't give your followers a coffee break; it would take too long to retrain them.

> 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.)

> 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.

> 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.

To guard yourself from rationing.

And, perhaps, even starvation.


kevin goodman said...

I like the salesman that first says they’re not selling anything ‘just doing a survey’ – ‘all you have to do is answer honestly’. That’s the setup and once they get you in agreement in there survey then they try to sell you. This exploits one powerful psychological lever – the need to be consistent. You did after all agree that this is important, right, don’t make yourself a liar now.

No wonder people hate foot jamming salesman. And no matter how uncomfortable they get some get so shaken up they still fold. Ironically it seems there may be an advantage to keeping your victim uncomfortable and in a defensive position.

This kind of unethical salesmanship must have some defense for those too polite to pick up the phone and dial 911?

Warren W said...

You scored with this one, Jack. How the con artists skillfully use the half-truth and half-lie to confuse and contort is brilliantly described.

Terry. said...

The opening line--the ringing sincerity of a used car salesman's handshake. That did it for me, Jack...that's the best line you've come up with in a long time.

Jack Payne said...

Thanks, guys. I tried to frame the con man profile a bit differently than I usually do.

Jack Payne said...

Kevin, you've got this thing figured to precisely what it is.
I, too, have always resented these obvious-self-interest, "I'm conducting a survey" openers.

Oreolla said...

I think it is lost on most people the extent to which con people must be self-disciplined. This whole thing - the concept of con games that is - is so broad, so big as to be hard to get a grip around the complexities of it. That would mean that plenty of rules must prevail, lots of spinning and lies, carefully interwoven and pulled together. It would take a lot of talent to do a good job in this field. But, I guess from what you say there is plenty of this talent out there.

Theresa H. Hall said...

Just as well. Time for everyone to learn how to bake bread.

Dolcett said...

A zero sum game. That says it all. You can see why a code is a must. Maybe Teresa is right.

Terry said...

Another great line I like is - give me ambiguity or give me something else.

Cat said...

What's so brilliant about con men is the pride they take in their craft. They practice, they adjust, they reinvent, while we victims sit here and for the most part, remain ambivalent to our protection. A match made in heaven.

Wade R said...

Ruthlessness and putting forth a clean public face is a difficult combination. This is one thing I just can't follow - how they do it.
But then again, politicians are so good at this, especially the Democrats - so I guess it is possible.

Jack Payne said...

Oreola, you have a good "fix" on the problem.

Theresa, short, sweet, and to the point does it. I like your baking bread analogy. (When is the next chapter of your novel going up? I've been waiting patiently for months.)

Cat, your observation is brilliant. So much said, so few words. That's brilliant to me. The old cliche must come out here, dusted off, and pronounced yet again: You have hit the nail on the head.

Jack Payne said...

You're on to the scent, Wade. I have thought precisely this for a long, long time: Politicians are expert at this. By and larege they are natural born con artists.

Gene Kranik said...

Who can say what is right and wrong in any of these arguments? But then I guess that is the purpose, confusion. That's what's so hard to understand for me. How can people thrive in all this confusion? It seems like they must live their lives based on emotion rather than the exercise of any common sense at all.

Welly said...

I completely concur that most con games are set up under the premise that they are zero sum games. This makes it easier to mold a hard and fast opinion about something.

Bern said...

It seems to me that this was a great philosphical discussion of the con man mind, yet it lacked something, even though I learned a lot from it. In thinking it over, I feel like you didn't relate this mindset to a specific example of how it would work in practice, Jack. I feel a little cheated. You usually do such a good job of relating these mindsets to hypothetical situations, for better understanding.

Kevin Goodman said...

Any body want to get really stinken rich? Come on guys theres no sin in having a little money. Pass port to freedom will turn that day job into a memory. LOL - just joking :)

Anonymous said...

You say never pay directly for any criminal services required. Does that include hit man services too, Jack?

Jack Payne said...

It's all based on emotion, Gene. Common sense must take a back seat for any of these con man schemes to work.

Sorry, Bern. I've got one more piece coming up that examines the con man mind from the purely analytical side. But, I see your point, and, in the future I will try to pull out, dust off, and use more actual case history type examples of how this stuff works.

Jack Payne said...

Kevin, your joke is precisely the one passed around throughout the con artist community, accompanied by much laughter at the ease of "taking" suckers.

Luckily, Anonymous, the one thing that is most reassuring about the con man community is that--among it's vast bag of tricks--violence is generally not included. These are usually passive people, who abhor any kind of violence as much as just about anyone else. Their right of passage, as they see it is to outsmart suckers--steal their money that way, and be done with it. Hit man type violence is largely left to other forms of crime.

Swubird said...

Con Man:

Very interesting article, and one that reminds me of a certain con woman several years ago.

My son was about 21 when he went to see a hypnotist. He and the older woman sat there talking for about twenty minutes, mostly discussing his past and his future plans. Then, suddenly, she said that would be $50! My son told her that he had not been hypnotized yet, but she claimed that he had been under all of that time. Being as young and inexperienced as he was, he paid the lady and left. I guess W.C Fields was right.

Have a nice day.

Tamera said...

THIS was a fantastic post!

RainforestRobin said...

WOW this is amazing Jack. When you wrote how they use half-truths and lies and keep you so confused...that is the truth. They disorient you and run rings around you by keeping you confused. To the point you don't even remember where you are anymore. I had that happen year ago on the phone and was so confused I finally just hung up. End of conversation, end of insanity! LOL :)

Dee said...

Ok Jack you have moved on to screen play material here a la "Catch Me IF You Can".

Then like they did with Frank Abagnale Jr. the authorities need you to help them out con the con man. Not that I am saying you are a con man Jack but damn you sure do know them.

Now we need to hear more Jack because you know these buggers don't follow the rules even your sacrosanct ones permanently so you gotta keep up with the game and clue us in.

I actually heard a lawyer call a witness an alligator he having made an allegation of course. Damn the alligator indeed.

Benjamin Kerensa said...

We need to avoid these con's at all costs and watch out for social engineering.