Most Top 10 Con Games Explained



Most Top 10 Con Games Explained


 

Unlike most kinds of petty crime, a confidence game, or con, takes an enormous amount of skill and forethought to pull off. When done right, in many cases the grifters who perpetrate them have not actually done anything overtly illegal–they’ve simply used lies and manipulation to get their victim, or “mark,” to willingly hand over their own money. Whether blackmail, fraud, or illegal gambling, the following are ten of the most famous ways that these swindlers try to take advantage of the confidence of their unsuspecting victims. Obviously, there are a number of takes on any kind of con, but these are the most popular variations of the most well known tricks.

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10.  The Embarrassing Check

The embarrassing check con is a well-known means of legally getting money from victims by playing off of their innate feelings of shame. The con men open a fake business with an overtly explicit title that supposedly sells sex toys or other pornographic material, but buyers are told that any purchases they make will be routed through a separate com...

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9.  The Fiddle Game

Many of the best cons work because of the inherent greed of the person being tricked, and the fiddle game is one of the best examples. It requires two con men to work, and is designed to take place in a restaurant. One of the con men poses as an old man eating dinner. When he gets his bill, the man approaches the owner and explains that he forgot h...

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8.  The Pig in a Poke

One of the oldest cons in the book is the so-called “pig in a poke,” which dates back to the Middle Ages. At the time, quality meat was scarce, and pigs and cows were often worth large sums of money. In this particular con, the trickster would offer to sell another person a baby pig, and after receiving the money they would hand over a “poke,...

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7.  The Thai Gem Scam

A wildly elaborate con, the Thai Gem Scam has become infamous in Bangkok, where it is often performed on unsuspecting tourists. It starts with a lookout, who strikes up friendly conversations with tourists about their vacations. The lookout will say that there is a service that gives tourists free rides to local temples for sightseeing tours, and w...

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6.  The Wire Game

Made famous by the movie The Sting, the wire game was a complex fraud that required a large group of con men to work in concert in order to pull it off. The group of grifters would open up a fake “wire store,’ which is a kind of bookie where bets could be placed on horse races. A victim, usually a man of considerable wealth, would then be broug...

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5.  The Badger Game

The badger game dates back to the 19th century, and is arguably one of the most reproduced cons of all time. A form of blackmail, in its most famous form the trick would see a con woman seek out a lonely married man at a bar and lure him back to her hotel room. After getting the man into some kind of compromising position, the grifters would produc...

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4.  Three-Card Monte

One of the classic short cons, three-card monte is a card game that uses sleight of hand and trickery to swindle victims out of small amounts of cash. It’s one of the oldest cons around, and dates back to “the shell game,” a similar scheme that was popular during the Middle Ages. The game itself is deceivingly simple. Three cards are placed f...

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3.  The False Good Samaritan

There might not be any simpler or more ancient con than the so-called “false Good Samaritan”. It usually involves a team of two con men working in tandem, and the victim is usually a lone person walking a city street at night. The first con man approaches the person and mugs them, stealing their wallet or purse and taking off down the street. T...

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2.  The Spanish Prisoner

Ever gotten one of those junk e-mails from a person claiming to be a Nigerian Princess in need of quick cash? If so, then you’re familiar with the Spanish Prisoner, which is a classic form of “advance fee fraud” that attempts to trick unsuspecting marks by promising them a big payday down the road. The scam dates all the way back to the early...

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1.  The Ponzi Scheme

If current events have proven anything, it’s that there is no more potentially profitable con game than the Ponzi scheme. The trick dates back hundreds of years, but it was popularized by Charles Ponzi, an Italian immigrant to the U.S. who swindled investors out of millions in the early 1900s before being arrested. The modern Ponzi scheme is a fo...

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