Thursday, August 28, 2008

Con Man's Primary Targets: Who are the Victims?

--Are You in One of These Major Target Categories?

The con man's aim at specific targets is well organized, focused, pinpoint. It comes through like a telepathic echo.

His foremost candidates for victimhood are:

> The elderly. Good net worth, failing memories (inability to compile adequate evidence to be used against the con man), failing health (great for every manor of health-aid support scam), and a generally trusting nature. These are the lucrative appeals.

All the traits of growing old are sought out: those who first forget names, then faces, then pulling up their zippers (and, even worse, those who forget to pull them down. ) The individuals who are all doped up like a bear in the zoo are the very most attractive targets. These folks have been found the easiest to separate from their money

Yes, it's these people, numbering among your parents and grandparents, who desperately need special protection.

> Women. Especially older 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). Reasoning? Who knows? Just to grab some possible reasoning out of thin air, let's liken things to the fat lady. The fatter the fat lady, the more likely she is to not object to caricature. Maybe that's it. Or, perhaps, the hard and fast fact: Fat ladies use more soap.

> 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 pajamas, yelling at the kids to get off the lawn.

> Church 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.

> The young, the restless, and the stupid-- younger, more adventurous people renowned for their gullibility. Targets sought most are those who think life is too short to live the same day twice. Never play cards with a man named, Doc, is, sadly, a fundamental truism not yet learned by most young people.

After taking on these primary groups the con man's thrust is simple: Go after any
assets that show, be they life insurance proceeds, pensions, annuities , stocks, retirement nest eggs, home equity, or, best of all, just plain old cash.

All told, the con man's search for victims concentrates on these, considered to be, most vulnerable groups. 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: Money can't buy you everything, and, then again, neither can no money.

27 comments:

Marla said...

I see the list includes older women. Thats good because I am an older woman and i feel especially vulnerable.

Terry said...

You ran a piece on the old folks a few weeks ago, Jack. Glad to see you covered it again here. I've got old folks in my family who I worry about...can't see enough of this coverage.

Wilma said...

You mention that there should be special protection for older people. Why isn't there? What would this be?

Jack Payne said...

Marla and Terry, you are both right to be especially concerned about con man attacks on vulnerable old people (of which I am one, hence know of whence I talk). And, for all the reasons I outlined, not only in this article, but the one that featured attacks on the elderly a few weeks back.

Jack Payne said...

Wilma, your specialty seems to be asking tough questions.

Why isn't there special protection for the elderly? I know not, frankly. You'd think that if Hate Crimes are in vogue in our society, scam attacts on old people, depriving them of their hard-earned assets, accumulated over a life time of hard work, that some form of Hate Crime would be involved. This would call for special protective legislatlion. But, alas, so far, nothing. We can only hope.

Robin Easton said...

"If you always wanted to be a procrastinator, but never got around to it, the time is ripe when dealing with a con man..."

Howling again! Annother GREAT line, which made me burst out loud! Oh Jack, Jack Jack, you are some writer.

Every group here made sense, but I had not thought of them all. Not the church goers. Wow, that's an insight that makes sense. I was also glad to see the elder group mentioned again. I remembered your other post on that group. It really riles me when people treat elders poorly. I get very fierce when I see or hear of that. Sadly there is much of it in American culture.

I cannot tell you how much fun I had reading these posts. You are a singularly brilliant writer. I've stared reading your book again and also trying to really apply what you told me. I have so much more to learn but I believe it will come.

I want you to know that I admire you not only as a writer, but as an amazing person with an incredibly keen mind. Like I said once before; you must have an IQ off the charts. These posts crackle and snap like lightning.

Lynn said...

Fat ladies use more soap. That's such a simple way of putting it, but says so much.

Roanoke RnR said...

Great blog. You hit the nail on the head, especially regarding the elderly. I can't tell you all the grief I've experienced the last year since my dad's death. He was the perfect victim (lonely, elderly, widowed, well off and living 500 miles away from me) of the ultimate con woman. No one would believe me, and unfortunately I was proven right. She didn't get away with as much as she thought she would, but she got more than enough. I suspect she even had a hand in his "mysterious" death. I'm still dealing with trying to get justice, yet no authorities seem to care. I've begun working on a book which I hope will be a warning to others so they never find themselves or their elderly parents in the same situation.

HEALTH NUT WANNABEE MOM said...

This is awful and sad to know that it really happens. Thank goodness my nana was such a pistol and ran off anyone she was not related to or grew up with. I can see how the elderly are targets. Shame on the con men!

Jack Payne said...

Glad you enjoy my humble attempts to alert the masses, Robin, to the evils of those select few who would con, scam, and fleece us all out of our eye teeth, if they could. Also, glad to hear that you have started to read my book a second time. I believe that ties you for the lead with Terry, who has read Six Hours Past Thursday twice, also.

The fat lady and soap is a simple way to put it, isn't it, Lynn?

Nardeeisms said...

Mr. Payne, I often worry about my father. He loves talking to people on the phone and deems it impolite to hang up when he is being probed for information. My mother, however, has no problem doing so. Thanks for the reminder. I will pass this on to him. - Nards

Terry said...

Wrong, Jack. I am still ahead of Robin. I have read Six Hours three times. And I will read it a fourth time in six months. Each time I read it I learn more about the m.o. of the con man. You do such a beautiful job of crawling into the mind of a con man it is unbelievable. So with me believing knowledge is power, I can't get enough.

Chicago Girl said...

thanks for the comment

Jack Payne said...

What a sad, sad story, rnr. You should see the emails I get. So many are similar--featuring con artists taking advantage of the elderly--that it breaks your heart. Gotta be an answer. But, to date, don't know what it would be except a strong defensive mechanism. Let's hope, one of these days soon, the tide will turn, and something effective will come into play.

Glad you had a "Nana" with a "Throw the Bums Out" attitude, Heidi. Only way for the elderly to protect themselves with any vigor, force.

Jack Payne said...

Nards, you are faced with--or I should say your father is faced with--the number one tactic of the skilled con artist: Get 'em talking. They love it when people turn on the conversation spigot like a running faucet.
They sit back, listen, ask a few probing questions, and quietly compile the information. Later, of course, to be used against the "Mark" as they step forth to fleece. him. Thank God, for your Mother's common sense. Maybe (hopefully) she can exercise some kind of positive influence on your father.

Jack Payne said...

You've read my book THREE times, Terry. Gosh, you and Robin are my biggest fans. Now, if I could get a few more people to read it the FIRST time, I'd be all set.

You've got a great blog, Chicago Girl. Lotsa nostalgia about Chicago stimulated for me. My book, Six Hours Past Thursday, is set in Chicago.

Gene Kranik said...

From the feedback I get its the retirement nest eggs that entice the con men the most.

Laura said...

I don't think the con artists go after anything specific. One worked my talkative mother over the phone a year ago and was angling for anything he could get. I think their greed is all-pervasive.

Ariel J said...

All doped up like a bear in a zoo, that's a good way to put it. I can't tell you how often I've been in nursing homes and walked the corridors, seeing countless older people in wheel chairs sound asleep, shunted off to the side. It't heartbreaking. I'm sure that many have assets the con artists are going after, if not the nursing homes themselves.

Jean F said...

The treatment of old people in our society is so bad it just makes me want to cry.

Jack Payne said...

Either way, Gene and Laura, the elderly are a soft target for the con artists. This is why they are so often used as a punching bag.

Jack Payne said...

Jean and Ariel, this is really the raw material for a movie or TV docudrama sob story--you are both, oh, so right about this. Resolution? We can only hope and pray.

Swubird said...

Con Man:

I enjoyed this post very much.

I am embarrassed to say that I once was conned out of several thousand dollars - by a friend of mine! For some reason, when a friend cons you, it seems to me to be even more disgusting.

Ironically, seven years later that same friend called me to ask for a favor. He had a business problem and he wanted me to help him resolve it. The favor he was asking for, however, was highly unethical, if not down right illegal. I bowed out, of course. Needless to say, he hasn't called me back since.

Like I said, a very good, thought-provoking post.

Happy trails.

DoubleDeckerBusGuy said...

A good piece about the groups that are the primary targets... but shouldn't everyone be alert and not just those folks?

K. Fields said...

This is a fantastic piece of work. I have been woried about my aging parents being conned, they seem to believe everything they read and hear nowadays. Also about some church people, that is so true. I know some deeply religious people that have been "taken for a ride" because of their beliefs. They trust everyone that talks to them. Ugh! Very interesting post, and website. Thank-you.
-K

Nicholas J. Johnson said...

I once spoke about scam protection for a group of disabled people. One of them made the remark that they, as well as older people, are no necessarily more trusting.

Instead, they are in a position where they are HAVE to trust people. They rely on the kindness of others to survive.

[url]http://www.conman.com.au[/url]

Anonymous said...

Excellent article! What is disturbing is that when you add the populations of all of the vulnerable groups, you really have a majority of the population. Ultimately, anyone and everyone can be a mark!