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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Confidence Game Victim

A confidence man prospers only because of the fundamental dishonesty of his victims. First, he inspires a firm belief in his own integrity. Second, he brings into play powerful and well-nigh irresistible forces to excite the cupidity of the mark. Then he allows the victim to make large sums of money by means of dealings which are explained to him as being dishonest--and hence a "sure thing." As the lust for large and easy profits is fanned into a hot flame, the mark puts all his scruples behind him. He closes out his bank account, liquidates his property, borrows from friends, embezzles from his employer or his clients. In the mad frenzy of cheating someone else, he is unaware of the fact that he is the real victim, carefully selected and fattened for the kill. Thus arises the trite but none-the-less sage maxim: "You can't cheat an honest man." [Actually, you can work a con game on an honest man. Honest people are cheated all the time.]

David W. Maurer, The Big Con, 1940

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