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I can’t imagine walking into a situation like that… handing over $20,000.

“You have too much attachment to money. Let me hold this in a jar,” the psychic would say. “I’ll give it back whenever you ask.”

Then, of course, you never get it back.

“It’s a slow building of a relationship, slow building of trust,” Maria Konnikova said on my podcast.  

“You have no idea how many times I’ve met people who said, ‘I do not believe in psychics…. except my psychic. My psychic is the exception to the rule.’”

Maria is a New York Times bestselling author, contributing writer for The New Yorker and a brilliant podcast guest.

I read her book,  “The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It . . . Every Time,” about the most common and dangerous con artists in history, what they plotted and how they got away with it.

I got paranoid reading it.

I thought she missed someone.


I kept thinking, “Am I a con artist?”

There are 3 elements most people have in common with con artists.

And a fourth element exclusive to professional con artists. It’s the difference between Benjamin Franklin and Bernie Madoff.

Millions of Americans are scammed everyday.  You might be one of them. 

Keep reading to find out the 4 key processes of being a con artist… and the one characteristic separating the good from the bad.

Step 1: Figure out who you are:

I 100% failed at this. I can’t tell you how to figure out who someone is.

I ask questions. Other people give answers. They control what I think of them.

It sounds backwards. But it’s true.

If you want me to think you’re funny, you’ll make jokes. People who want to look smart will spew facts. I just try to be what I actually am. I’m curious. So I ask questions.

If you hold yourself back from being who you are, you’re a con artist. But maybe the kind with good intentions.

You might con everyone.

But the only person getting scammed is you.

Step 2: Gain your trust:

When Benjamin Franklin was young, he had an enemy in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The guy hated Benjamin Franklin. So BF did something simple.

He conned him.

He found out what books his enemy read (step 1).

Then he asked for a small favor: he borrowed a book from his enemy and returned it.

By returning it, Benjamin Franklin gained his enemy’s trust (step 2).

Then the two became friends. And that’s step 3.

Step 3: Form a relationship:

It’s known as “The Benjamin Franklin Effect.”  If you ask, they’ll think, “Oh. I did you this favor so I must like you.”

But the criteria doesn’t stop there. If it did, I’d be a con artist. And you would be, too.

Listen to my interview with Maria to find out the fourth element of a con artist. Skip to [-34:26] and (hopefully) never get scammed again.

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