The maxim, “if it’s too good to be true, it is” certainly applies to relationships. Con artists not only want to go to bed with you, but they also want to know your deepest, darkest secrets, want to be your best friend and always seem to put your interests first. They may also seem to be incredibly rich, come from a prestigious family or wear a uniform. Con artists are excellent at what they do, so if you get taken in by one, you’re not alone.
Con artists are different from people who just want sex, sex and more sex. The latter type generally doesn’t care about talking, getting to know you, feed you or romance you in any way. They just want to get you into a private space as soon as possible. They may have problems, but at least they’re honest about what they want from you. They may also never bother you again, unlike con artists.
“But Let’s Talk About You…”
Con artists need information in order to pull off their con. They will often deflect questions about themselves, their families or their pasts in order to let you open up. They will wine and dine you at the best places or even cook the food themselves. They will hold your hand and nod, look into your eyes and seem very sympathetic.
This tactic fools the victim into thinking that he or she is the most fascinating person that their new love has ever met. The presents, the dates, the focus of attention is all on you. The con artist will then tell you everything that you want to (or need to) hear. This induces a state of bliss that can make logical thinking go right out the window.
No Family Members
Con artists may talk quite a lot about their family members. However, there is usually no way for you to meet these family members in order to verify whatever your new love has told you. These family members may have died in a horrific accident or they’ve entered a monastery and taken a vow of silence. They may be in a mental asylum or in a coma. Or, the con artist may skip inventing a fictional family and claim that he is an orphan.
If they mention that a family member is still alive and you press them for details, many details will be forthcoming. They may be too convoluted for you to keep track of. You may even suggest that you and your new love go visit this family member. A clever con artist will actually book the trip and it’s only when you’ve reached your destination will the con artist suddenly get a phone call or email stating that there’s been an emergency and the meeting has to be postponed for some other time.
Many con artists take on the disguise of the rich and powerful. If they appear to have tons of money, then this throws off suspicions that they could possibly steal. “Why would Dan need to steal? He has all of the money in the world!” They shower you and your family with expensive presents. They eagerly buy all of the drinks in the next round. They may even be accepted into country clubs, movie premiers, five star restaurants and hob-nob with the rich.
In one sense, they are rich. This is because they have been siphoning all of your money and possibly all of the money of your friends and family, into their pockets. If they can’t get money, they’ll get property, artwork, jewellery or other valuable possessions to sell.
“Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry? Married to a Monster.” (2010)
North American Securities Administrators Association. “How to Spot a Con Artist.” http://www.nasaa.org/investor_education/nasaa_fraud_center/436.cfm
MSNBC. “Spotting a Sweetheart Scam Artist.” April 4, 2002. http://www.txstate.edu/news/news_releases/external_news/2002/04/scamartist042402.html
Personal (bitter) experience