Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Con Artist Characteristics

Another Excerpt from
"Chuck Whitlock's Scam School":

Distinguishing Charcteristics
of the Con Artist (pgs 18 - 19)

Why would someone… choose a life of deception and fraud…?
... They all seemed to be very sincere, very candid – until I started to ask some hard questions. At this point, they all became hostile and angry – and in a couple of instances, near violent. Male or female, they pleaded their innocence to me, claming that their convictions were all misunderstandings…

There is one thing they share: They are always able to rationalize away accusations against them and to justify their actions, at least in their own minds.

Most con artists also have delusions of self-importance. They feel they deserve the riches they con out of their victims. …[T]hey are only taking what is rightfully theirs. After taking a retired couple’s life savings, one con artist told me that if they were not smart enough to hang on to what was theirs, they deserved to lose it. [Blog host note: This describes "entitlement," a common characteristic of manipulators and a variety of personality disorders associated with cult leaders. Another side of this trait: People who see power as a "finite resource" will rally for power, believing that if someone has personal power, somehow, that means that they will have less power. This often feeds into their sense of entitlement, one hallmark indicator of a sociopath.]
Another thing common to almost all fo the hardened con artists I talked with was their willingness to take everything they could get from each and every mark…

Finally… I found that many happen to come from dysfunctional families or single-parent families with many siblings… The anger they repressed while growing up manifested itself in a selfish, manipulative personality. Indeed, the self-image of many con artists is so inflated as to border on narcissism.