He kneels down, trying to lay low to avoid detection. He has stalked his prey all day. He has studied “the kill” from every conceivable angle. He replayed every scenario in his mind.
Time and time again he practices his moves until he is sure that there are no mistakes. There can be no letting go of this one. This is the big one that will make everything else seem so insignificant.
This will be the last hunt. It is as if his eyes are glued to this target. Nothing will deny him this. It is his birthright. It is his destiny. He approaches his prey confidently as his prey stares at him unaware of what will happen next. As the first words are spoken, he knows that the game is afoot. The mark has been engaged and the “con” shall now begin to unfold.
It was a very simple transaction. Legitimate on its face and humanitarian in character. The young man’s life had taken on the most unfortunate of all turns. In a span of one month, he had lost everything to the financial crisis.
Formerly a successful trader on wall street, one error had cost him his entire life savings and even now threatened to ruin the futures of his daughters, whose pictures he was not slow to show. “They are honor students in high school but I don’t know if I can afford to send them to college”, he claims. The mark looks at him with compassion, reflecting a hint of suspicion.
“Kind sir, I understand your wary nature and I would like to say that I do not appeal to your generosity but as an honest and working man who has fallen on hard times, I would just like to beseech you for an opportunity for me to redeem my pride and rebuild my spirit,” the con man begins his speech and he knows it is only a few more moments before the job is done.
“If you would indulge me for a moment of your time to enlighten you about my situation for you see, I was not like this. In fact, I lived among the haves and looked down on the have nots. As luck would have it, however, I have fallen on hard times and seek only a way to redeem myself in my eyes so that I may have the courage to face my family when I return home to tell them of my tragic failure.”
It is the perfect pitch. Not an appeal to generosity but rather an appeal to the pride of all men; the need to be able to bravely face his troubles. It strikes a chord in everyone’s heart, for who could ever deny a little help to a person who wants nothing more than a chance to regain his pride. There has been no mention of money except that which has been lost by the con man. Neither will there be a mention of money until the con man is convinced that he has secured his mark.
“Dear sir,” he continues, “thank you indeed for this time and as you have given me the chance to walk with my head up high again, allow me to repay your act of kindness with a generous gesture. I was a trusted banker for a very wealthy family and as such, I am privy to many of their transactions. If you are interested, I can invest your money in a few of their business that are already making so much money.
The returns are not extraordinary but certainly better than normal bank rates. I only offer this to you because you have been so kind. Here is my card, please give me a call. Have a nice day.”
Game, set and match. All he has to do is just sit and wait. There is no cause for what he does. It is simply just about the money. For those who fall prey to the scam, the only cause is the money. There is nothing more to it. There are no deeper existential philosophies and moralities to wrestle with just the thought of having more cold hard cash or having none at all.
Every con has an angle. Every con plays on the emotions of people. Logic never betrays its owner. Every decision a person regrets in life can be traced back to a single strand of emotion that clouded solid judgment. This is something that every con man understands. This is something that every con man counts on. The cause is simply just money, for after all, a con is about the dollars and sense!