How to spot a con artist
Sociopaths use flattery and inflated credentials
They talk fast, pushing you for fast decisions
Sooner or later, you will have a run-in with a sociopath. There are just too many of them—possibly between 3 million and 12 million sociopaths in America. And they aren’t necessarily locked up in jail. Sociopaths roam through all parts of society, all areas of the country, all walks of life.
There is only one way to protect yourself from sociopaths: You must know what they are, and put your guard up when you start seeing the symptoms.
Sociopaths are prolific con artists. Here are some typical con artist tricks. For even more information about how con artists work, Lovefraud recommends The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Frauds, Scams, and Cons, by Duane Swierczynski.
If you’ve just met someone who is overwhelming you with praise, attention and concern, be careful. Be particularly careful if you’re lonely and looking for love—con artists know exactly how to play that tune.
Credentials—exaggerated and fabricated
Con artists may “prove” themselves by namedropping or volunteering detailed resumes or credentials. If you’re at all suspicious, check their references.
Building your trust
Con artists will sometimes honor their commitments in the beginning so that you begin to trust them. They’ll pay back initial loans, or appear to be unselfishly helping other people. Their objective is to get you to drop your guard.
The story doesn’t quite add up
The con artist’s story may have small inconsistencies or unexplained loose ends. If you ask questions, the con will glibly provide an explanation—which may also not add up. Or, he or she will sidestep the issue by accusing you of paranoia or mistrust.
“I need an answer now.”
A crisis needs to be averted, an opportunity will disappear—whatever the reason, a con artist will want an answer right away. If you have time to think, research or ask advice, you may realize that con artist’s plan is a ploy. The con will want your money before you figure it out.
Intense eye contact
Typically, when people talk to each other, they look each other in the eyes and then briefly look away. Sociopathic con artists often exhibit a “predatory stare”—unblinking, fixated and emotionless. It’s not a sign of empathy—it’s an effort to assert control.
Con artists will slowly and subtly separate you from people who may question their plans. They may intercept phone calls from your friends. They may refuse to associate with your family. They’ll tell you, “It’s you and me against the world, baby.” Soon, you’re alone with them, snared in their net.
For a jaw-dropping look at how sociopaths employ all these techniques, read Love Fraud —How marriage to a sociopath fulfilled my spiritual plan.