From 'The Tinder Swindler' to 'The Dropout', We're All Addicted To The Con | Features | LIVING LIFE FEARLESS
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From ‘The Tinder Swindler’ to ‘The Dropout’, We’re All Addicted To The Con

There’s a new kid on the block that has gotten true crime fans on the edge of their seats. We’re just three months into 2022, yet back-to-back-to-back hit shows about real-life con artists such as Inventing Anna, The Tinder Swindler, The Dropout, The Puppet Master, and Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives have quickly captured our attention and pushed us deep down a rabbit hole of conspiracies, lies, deceit, despair, and revenge. So, the question remains: what is it about despicable people and their heinous acts that lure us every damn time?



Profiling Con Artists

A con artist is someone who manipulates and takes advantage of people’s vulnerabilities and weaknesses into making them believe something that is not true to gain power, money, and control. People who commit scams and fraud come in all shapes and sizes, and they could come from any social class or walk of life, making it extremely difficult to spot them in the crowd from the get-go. However, a common trait that is prevalent in con artists is their ability to manipulate people into making them think and act a certain way, without feeling any guilt or remorse.

Whether it’s a Ponzi scheme, get-rich-quick schemes, insurance fraud, or romance scams, these fraudsters usually succeed in their crimes because they possess the intelligence, charm, education, or social status of someone we are taught to trust or deem respectable. They have an exceptional talent to pay great attention to detail and take on different personas that would perfectly fit what their victims find appealing. They know very well how to establish a connection and hit the right buttons to gain your trust and affection. Oftentimes, they sweep you off your feet by impressing you with their wealth, knowledge, job, social status, romantic gestures, or sweet nothings.

These fraudsters usually succeed in their crimes because they possess the intelligence, charm, education, or social status of someone we are taught to trust

Their ability to deliberately lie straight to your face without batting an eye and remembering every detail of it is truly a dumbfounding skill that allows them to sustain their cons for years or even decades. They can effortlessly create a persona and cunningly play with the psyche of their victims to get their loyalty so they wouldn’t doubt them in the long run. While con artists can manipulate or exploit whoever they please, they are commonly drawn to the ones who are vulnerable or desperately in need so they can act as a knight in shining armor who can make their lives better.

“Gifted with an exceptional memory, the swindler can access each current script with the speed of a computer; and if they cannot quite remember a fact (or lie), they can dance around the lapse so convincingly that you will seldom, if ever, notice. I do not mean to portray the con artist as a Superman, only as an enemy to be respected for his prowess,” via Fraud Aid.

Scammers oftentimes get away with things because their victims rarely report their crimes mainly due to the fact that law enforcement or organizations do not take their incidents seriously. Also, when a victim asks for help or seeks justice, their perpetrators threaten them and their families while on the other hand, authorities usually make them feel that they are making it up or worse, putting the blame on them for being gullible. What happens, in the end, is that scammers roam free while their victims suffer the consequences of their actions and spend their entire lives recovering from the trauma, paying debts, and earning back the huge amount of money they lost.

What Gets Us Hooked On The Thrill?

If there’s anything that has been proven over time, we love a good old mystery. There’s something intriguing and fascinating about knowing what motivates certain people to act or think a certain way and to uncover how it all pans out in the grand scheme of things. While we usually watch films or shows to be entertained, documentaries that particularly tackle sensitive subject matters such as fraud and crime, amuse us more because it stimulates our wildest imagination and it gives us the satisfaction to play detective and validate our theories in the end.

For instance, getting a front-row seat into the lavish lifestyle of Shimon Hayut aka The Tinder Swindler was enough to get us hooked for hours because it gave us a glimpse into a foreign world that is fueled by excessive money, extravagance, and adventure. It also allowed us to escape from reality and simulate the experience of a dangerous undertaking from a safe distance, and this is why we feel a sense of pleasure as well as sympathy for the victims involved. The emotional roller coaster we go through when watching these people go through something extreme helps us learn more about ourselves and the way we would approach the situation if we get into a similar conundrum.


https://youtu.be/_R3LWM_Vt70

“Psychologist Maria Konnikova has stated that the reason for our fascination with such criminals is rooted in the fact that these acts are not outwardly violent, usually relying on the con artist’s wit to outsmart those around him, with their victims often being an untouchable segment of society.”

In simple words, we find that these kinds of stories are good sources of information that could teach us a thing or two on how to protect ourselves and be wary of the red flags we tend to overlook. By knowing the different profiles, personalities, or cons of scammers, the kind of people they prey on, and the tactics these victims do to seek justice, we could avoid falling into the same trap or committing the same mistake.

These kinds of stories are good sources of information that could teach us a thing or two

The digital age has definitely made things more complicated for society. With social media and dating apps on the rise, our yearning for connection, affection, and validation has reached unimaginable levels. It’s also worth pondering if giving this amount of exposure is actually detrimental to society as it may be the exact thing that motivates scammers to commit such heinous crimes for the sake of gaining fame and fortune. Nonetheless, let these real-life horror scam artist stories serve as a warning to not easily let our guard down and not let the superficial things blind us from seeing the truth.

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