A Easy Guide To: Know Your Con Men

Robert Redford, as "Johnny Hooker," in the best movie about con men ever released, "The Sting."
Robert Redford, as "Johnny Hooker," in the best movie about con men ever released, "The Sting."
That satanic smile is a sure-sign that you have been conned by a well-dressed, smart-spoken con man. You will never see THIS smie for he only smiles this way behind your back.
That satanic smile is a sure-sign that you have been conned by a well-dressed, smart-spoken con man. You will never see THIS smie for he only smiles this way behind your back.
This is how most victims of con games look when approached by professional con men. What? You have a system to make me rich?"
This is how most victims of con games look when approached by professional con men. What? You have a system to make me rich?"
Sadly, (some) televangelists use the Holy Bible to make money in the millions of dollars by promising innocent people that they, the givers, will be be blessed in the millions by God if they give to their ministries.
Sadly, (some) televangelists use the Holy Bible to make money in the millions of dollars by promising innocent people that they, the givers, will be be blessed in the millions by God if they give to their ministries.
Does the look on this con used car dealer not tell you something about his integrity?
Does the look on this con used car dealer not tell you something about his integrity?
Here we go. A con man will sternly drive home his fake products good points that are, for some reason, ALWAYS GOOD.
Here we go. A con man will sternly drive home his fake products good points that are, for some reason, ALWAYS GOOD.
This is what a con man looks like who you have asked, "Is your word and product trustworthy?"  Remember this look.
This is what a con man looks like who you have asked, "Is your word and product trustworthy?" Remember this look.
This can be YOU if you are not wise enough to ask con men the tough questions like: where is your company located? What is their CEO's name? May I call them?
This can be YOU if you are not wise enough to ask con men the tough questions like: where is your company located? What is their CEO's name? May I call them?
Oh yeah, the lure of easy money is always the hook in most con games that are taking innocent Americans by storm. Remember, there is no such thing as a "FREE LUNCH."
Oh yeah, the lure of easy money is always the hook in most con games that are taking innocent Americans by storm. Remember, there is no such thing as a "FREE LUNCH."
This artwork says it BEST in describing all con men: Wolf in a Sheep's Clothing. Jesus warned us about people like this in daily life.
This artwork says it BEST in describing all con men: Wolf in a Sheep's Clothing. Jesus warned us about people like this in daily life.
Please, friends, do NOT fall for those Easy-To-Do 'Shell Games' that con men are playing in our country to just get YOUR money. Be wise and keep your money.
Please, friends, do NOT fall for those Easy-To-Do 'Shell Games' that con men are playing in our country to just get YOUR money. Be wise and keep your money.
Paul Newman, as "Henry Gondorff," who starred with Robert Redford in the best movie about confidence men, "The Sting."
Paul Newman, as "Henry Gondorff," who starred with Robert Redford in the best movie about confidence men, "The Sting."

If This Story HELPS ONE Person, I Will Be Overjoyed!

Snake oil merchants. Fast-talking hucksters. Shady dealers. All fitting names for a breed of ‘men’ who have been around since time: Confidence men. Or in laymen’s (and victim’s) terminology, con men. Have you ever dealt with a con man? Maybe you did and wasn’t aware of it, for most of us deal with con men everyday and never suspect that we are being conned by some slickster whose only goal in life is to make money. And they make their money by “taking” your money.

There is no soft-soaping this subject: con men. The firm description of a con man would be ‘professional liar’ and if you were using that term, don’t apologize, for you would be absolutely right. Con men know how to tell a good lie. A believable lie. And a lie that will make him all the more richer--putting a smile on his face as he boards a plane for the next town to attack more innocent “prey” who think that he, the con man, is the friendliest man they have ever seen.

Just like the first con man, satan, who by the way is still conning people day and night, a professional con man is the friendliest, warmest man you will ever have the displeasure of meeting. He greets you with that world-famous wide smile that stretches from one side of his mouth to the other making him the perfect candidate for Crest toothpaste, followed by a warm and caring handshake and suddenly, you are taken-in by his elaborate stream of lies that would even impress his “boss,” satan, the guy I mentioned earlier.

The con man starts with, “Hi, good neighbor. May I talk to you about the newest invention on the market today: Instant Hair Overnight? I couldn’t help but notice that you, like me, are balding some, but this product ‘could’ help you have that great head of hair that you had as a young lad out chasing the ladies. Would you like that?” The poor, gullible balding doofus (like me) might reply, “Uhhh, yeah. That sounds great.” The con man asks, “May I sit down just for five minutes…five minutes that will change your looks . . .and life forever?” By now the poor, gullible doofus (like me) is foaming at the mouth to have this slick-talker sit down and change my image and life. The doofus invites the “wolf in sheep’s clothing” to even have dinner with him and his family. And to make a long paragraph shorter, the con man enjoys a delicious, free meal then proceeds to take this poor doofus’ life savings--leaving him with a handshake, two bottles of (nothing more than rubbing alcohol and vinegar) and wink as he hurriedly walks to his shiny, rented Chrysler LeBaron to vanish before the poor doofus knows that he is gone. This is how most con men operate.

Notice in the con man’s opening sales, or con pitch to the poor, gullible doofus. The con man cleverly used the word: COULD help you have that great head of hair . . .the word could is far from WILL give you that great head of hair. The con man is not about to take any chances. The poor doofus might run into this “serpent of slick sales” somewhere down the road of life and confront him about losing all of his life savings and since the doofus is now, 69, the money the con man took from him is equivalent to one-half million dollars. But the con man doesn’t care. He is without heart or soul. His only job in life is to bilk people, mostly uninformed elderly people out of the money they have saved for medicines, groceries, and other necessities of life.

Oh, the con men will sing a sad song and tell these, hate to use this term, ‘suckers,’ that he too has an elderly dad and mom in a fictitious town, “Homerville, Oklahoma,” and is selling this hair restoring product (or some other fake item) to help pay for his elderly parents’ assisted living facility and their other needs. Of course a sob story like this can, will, and does affect a poor soul who does have a heart and soul. And the con men know this going in. That’s why we, the ‘suckers’ in life are always the game in this wild ‘safari hunt’ where the con men are the hunters dressed in shiny, three-piece suits, white, starched shirts, cufflinks, black leather shoes and a signet ring to complete the package.

This “uptown” get-up only works if the con man is selling a “Get Rich Quick” plan, well, scheme, no, scam, to tell some poor, hate to say this, idiot, (like me), that they can start hauling in the cash if they only ‘donate’ $50.00 or less to his ‘highly-successful, proven cash generating system that thousands of the con man’s now-wealthy customers are using to live the life of ease that all people are entitled to live. And to seal the deal, the con man even provides 8 x 10 color photos of fake families when they were poor and now rich. Oh, yes, the fake families have fake names like: The Hendershaws of West Union, Omaha or some other believable name that the soon-to-be sucker can identify with and fork out his fifty-dollars.

If the con man is selling a scam, let’s call it for what it is, that by a gullible simp (like me) who donates around one-hundred dollars to the humbly-dressed con man in wrinkled, old slacks, worn shoes, a patched suit coat and a shirt that is years out of style, then the scam has worked. You see, to the con man, image is everything. An unsuspecting person about to be plucked like a Thanksgiving turkey, only judges the con man from what he is seen wearing. The ‘sucker’ of choice might think to himself, “Hmmm. Dressed like Donald Trump. His money-making venture must be real.” Or if the con man is dressed as if he’s on the mercy of the world, the ‘sucker’ will think, “Hmmm, poor guy. And with elderly parents in an assisted living facility in Homerville, Oklahoma, I will donate my last hundred dollars to him. I want to be known as a man who helps those in need.” See how professional con men work?

Are any of you old enough to recall the con game that was so successful in the early fifties, the “Aluminum Siding Con Game”? This scam, when operated correctly, took innocent people for thousands of dollars by smooth, gentle-talking fake aluminum siding salesmen who never delivered on their promises or aluminum siding that they promised would be there in two days--leaving struggling working-class families ‘holding the bag’ and looking oh so foolish. And the kicker was, that even when the authorities managed to corner one of these ‘snakes of a salesman,’ the charge was a mere misdemeanor and the con man got off with a small fine and the poor conned family were still without their money and siding. What a low-down way to make money--taking advantage of a man’s goodness and trusting nature.

Some con men used the Bible to gather in some fast cash in years gone by. The fake religious hucksters would go from door-to-door, and dressed in a humble wardrobe, selling ‘special’ Bibles that only their organization had privy to. And with a few religious, and trusting words, the con men would garner at least a hundred dollars a house and leave the poor, suckered family a sample of the Bible they were selling. Turns out that the ‘special’ Bible, when read carefully, was no different than the King James Bible that has been used for centuries. I can just hear the dialogue from the ‘suckered family’ as the humble-looking con man starts walking (with pack of Bibles on his back to look more humble), to the next ‘sucker house,’ The elderly head of the house says, “Hear that, ma? We gonna get ourselves a ‘specul’ Bible!” “Yore right, Paw. And to think, that ‘Christian’ young man’s organization wuz the onliest ones to have theze specul Bibles. Paw, that hundred dollars you give him wuz a good Christian act and the preacher will be proud of you.” his elderly wife replies.

Then, Paw, with a slight hint of suspicion, asks his wife, “Maw, how come that young man looked too old to be letting’ people like us put him through Bible college?” Then the proverbial ‘cat was out of the bag,’ but too late. The Bible huckster is now history. And carrying hundreds of ‘suckered’ dollars from mostly-trusting elderly people.

And items such as used cars, household appliances, racehorses, land deals, stock deals have been used almost to a natural area of life for experienced con men to make lots of bucks from people such as I. Selling an obviously-beaten up, completely worn-out car for ‘chicken feed’ to a good-hearted rube, is probably the most-successful con around. And when the poor rube’s ‘great car in great condition,’ quits, the upset rube only finds a vacated car lot and no “Honesty Lanny,” the car salesmen who ‘took’ the rube for $400.00 by telling the rube that the car was well-worth over $1200.00 and it was a ‘sacrifice sale.’ Yeah, “Lanny,” you are right. The poor rube sacrificed his last $400.00 to the ‘golden calf’--a low-life, lying form of life who used a poor man to make himself some extra gambling money.

We won’t talk about the numerous people who have lost money on the ‘PERFECT’ stock for investment by a family who has saved for their ‘golden years.’ Actually, in 2011, this type of confidence game is still being operated by slick investment bankers who get rich selling less-than-lucrative stocks to some poor guy who wants to ‘make a killing’ on Wall Street. And so what if the investment banker gets caught? The Fed’s will bail him out and that still leaves the poor guy almost penniless. Always get a lawyer to explain a stock sales contract to you BEFORE you sign on the line that says, name of ‘sucker.’ That is the wise thing to do.

I actually had this con almost work on me a few months ago. Foolishly, I went on a “Work at Home” website. After typing in my personal information, a man called me that evening and said these very words: “Ken, I am offering you a NO-COST, FREE work-at-home program that I guarantee will make you some real money.” Of course, needed extra cash like everyone in America in 2011, I was like a Big Mouth Bass on the Bill Dance Fishing Show as I said, “tell me more,” and this fast-talking, smooth-sounding guy said, “Well, Ken, you are wise for being interested. Do you have a PC? (that was an ignorant question since I had just applied with my PC). I said, “yes,” and he said this to me: “Ken, for the low, low charge of $49.00 a month, I can set up your own website that if you use MY programs, will make you that load of cash you have wanted for so long.” Then I asked, “$49.00 a month? You just said that this was a NO-COST, FREE OF CHARGE system for me to make extra money with my PC!” “Uhhh, ha, ha,” laughed the man on the phone. “Ken, you see that is only the website fee for keeping it up and you will never pay over $49.00 a month. Sound good?” he explained to me who was feeling pretty stupid. I asked him one last question, “Who gets the $49.00?” “Well, Ken, uhhh, (cough, clearing throat), I do, and if you set up a website for another person, then you get a share of the $49.00 you charge them…understand?” My index finger immediately hit the END CALL button.

Also beware, and be aware of cons like: Credit Cards that you have supposedly-won and for a small monetary fee, this caller will send you a Visa or American Express credit card in two days, but you have to give them your banking information so they can “conveniently” draw out the monetary fee for the credit card . . .and what money you have in your checking or savings account. Just hang up when a sap like this calls you.

Other simple ways to know if a man is a con man:

1. A con man always laughs at all of your jokes

2. A con man never frowns--except when he uses a ‘fake frown’ when you tell him a sad story about your uncle who just passed away

3. A con man (mostly) wears fine clothes, cologne, and nice shoes.

4. A con man , (some on television) will use this verbiage, “If you want God to bless you with millions, just vow to send MY MINISTRY “so and so amount” each month and I can assure you that “IF” (the key escape word for them to use if you get taken for lots of your money) you have the faith, then God will make sure that you are blessed with a million dollars (with this one, always ask, if they contact you if YOU call their 1-800 numbers, who gets the money I am sending?) I had a girl from a world-renowned, famous televangelist tell me that the “name of televangelist” DID NOT take one penny from all the money his ministry took in. I simply asked, “Does he ever eat, buy gas for his planes and cars?” The girl, obviously not trained for someone to be honest and not so gullible, replied, “(Name of televangelist) IS the ministry!” To that I had to reply, “I thought that Our Savior, Jesus, God’s Son, was THE ministry!” The girl got suddenly quiet and hung up.

5. A con man will have ‘fake’ company cards, letterheads, or other paperwork to convince you that he is real. Simply take one of his documents and call his company with him in your presence…most of the time, the con man will, for some reason, have to leave.

Now that you have read my “Know Your Con Men” story, I want you to know that I am not making anything off of this story. I am not printing it out and direct-mailing it to innocent people for the low-cost of $50.00 a story.

If you are an elderly person with savings to live on, or a retired man or couple with a good pension and Social Security to buy medicines and take care of your daily needs, please do not hesitate to question every person who calls you on the phone, or sometimes knocks on your door to sell you some “fly-by-night” paper-thin scheme to make you wealthy. Be bold. Do not let these people get a ‘foot hold’ in your life or in your homes.

And this free advice also applies to the ‘master con man,’ satan, who is the best-dressed, soft spoken, friendliest, best-looking man (and woman), you ever seen. If whatever satan or his con men are trying to sell you “seems to be too good to be true….


Well, you are smart enough to know the rest of my last statement.


Con men come in all sizes, shapes,

national origins, and occupations.

They are wise as a serpent preying

on innocent people and their monies

so it pays to be overly-suspicious when

one a con-man comes to town.

More by this Author


Comments 7 comments

Jean Bakula 5 years ago

Hi Kenneth,

Thanks for an informative piece, because it is easy to be fooled. People like that are sociopaths, they have no real emotions, only pretend to and use expressions they hear other people use, people that really mean them. My own brother used to hang about with a bad crowd, and finally he told me I shouldn't leave jewelry out in sight, or prescriptions in our medicine cabinet when we had parties. I have back problems and usually have pain killers in the house. He noticed too many people coming in and out of the room one night, and when I checked, I was missing pills I needed. In our times, these pain things are very regulated, and your own doctor's office makes you feel like an addict for trying to renew a prescription if you are prey to an incident like that.


daskittlez69 profile image

daskittlez69 5 years ago from midwest

This was a great hub. Now I am going to have to watch the movie "The Sting" again. Here is an up and a useful.


pearlmacb profile image

pearlmacb 5 years ago from Switzerland

Useful hub! In my early years I worked for a salesFirm, Im certain all upper management fit into this category, they appeared like sleek sheep in wolves skin and promoted the like, i quit because i chose not to sell ice to an eskimo lol! Im thankful of Gods wisdom today in my life, because someone that choses to see the good in all things & want to do good, are sadly, first to fall prey. This hub was a great reminder thanx!


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

hey, daskittlez69 . . .THANKS for your comment and reading hubs about con's does me that way too. Loved The Sting, but not the Sting II disaster. Nuff said. Take care, man.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dear pearlmacb . . .Thank YOU a LOT for your comments on this hub. I too, when I was able to work, encountered a guy in the radio business who tried to train me to say certain things to potential clients. Although they were the truth...it was the way he said to say them. A red flag went up. No longer with that company. If I cannot sell someone a product by telling the WHOLE truth...then I don't need to be selling at all. Thanks so much!


TexasLadyJuanita profile image

TexasLadyJuanita 4 years ago from Kemah, TX

Oh, but Maverick - could be nice to be conned by such a man.:)


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hello, Texas Lady Juanita,

and Thank YOU so much for such a warm comment. Maverick, you are right, was a perfect con man. I am of course talking about the James Garner character. Oh by the way, people have NEVER confused Garner and I for twins.

I want to invite YOU to follow me so I can keep up with the hubs that YOU write. If your hubs are as witty as this hub, then I am the one in for a treat.

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