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Con artist tools

Computers, voice mail, color copiers
Productivity tools for con artists, too

A con artist relies on appearances. With today’s technology, and an absolute disregard for truth, con artists make themselves appear legitimate, substantial and trustworthy.

Following are some everyday business tools that make life easier for con artists, too. For a thorough review of typical scams, Lovefraud recommends The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Frauds, Scams, and Cons, by Duane Swierczynski.

Computers

Whatever you can do on a computer, a con artist can do as well. He can produce:

  • Stationery and business cards for himself, his “business interests,” or reproductions of stationery from legitimate businesses.
  • Resumes, letters, reports and other documents which can state anything the con artist wants.
  • Tax returns, spreadsheets—anyone can fill in fictitious numbers.
  • Scans of photos or documents, which can be altered.

Cell phones

When the number you’re calling is a cell phone, there is no way of knowing where the person you’re calling is physically located. A con artist could tell you he’s sipping cocktails on his balcony overlooking the ocean, when in fact he’s on a bench waiting for a bus.

Voice mail

Con artists don’t need to install a phone to establish communication with potential victims. For a few dollars a month, anyone can get a voice mail account. Options range from an automated service that simply answers the phone to elaborate voice mail systems with prompts, toll-free calling, caller ID, conference calling and document faxing. This is perfect for con artists who want to appear to be more substantial than they really are. It’s also perfect for con artists who don’t want others—such as their spouses—to know what they are really up to.

Printers and color copiers

Today’s digital printers and color copiers so good that they can produce anything—photos, brochures, false ID cards. A con artist can go to any quick-print shop and generate all the sharp-looking documents he needs to make himself appear legitimate.

Internet

From web sites to personal ads, the potential for abuse using the Internet is so extensive that the United States government has established the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the national White Collar Crime Center. Loverfraud covers the topic on a separate page, Internet Threat.

Next: The pity play — sociopaths try to make you feel sorry for them