What is a crook? (with photos)

Modern crooks often use text messages to target teenagers.

A swindler, also known as a swindler, swindler, or scammer, is a person who cheats someone out of money or goods. He establishes trust with the victim and uses the ability to read people and a good sense of timing to carry out the schemes. Many have specific modes of operation, although they operate in a wide variety of hit types and tend to be difficult to spot in a crowd. These criminals often enter their work because of financial hardship, watching others model behavior, or because of various psychological needs.

General Profile

Gaining someone’s trust is the main tactic of all crooks.

The media and the public often portray a scammer as shady, but the reality is that their main characteristic is often their incredible ability to blend in with the crowd. In fact, one complaint that often echoes from victims is that the crook was the last person they ever expected to be a criminal. Con artists of this variety usually take on a friendly personality, no matter what they look like or who they might associate with.

Con artists often use indirect methods such as soliciting donations for a supposed charity.

People who commit scams usually have a good sense of timing as they need to judge when to approach victims and when to back off. They are excellent at reading people and have no problem holding onto emotional triggers. Patience is also one of your virtues, because following a plan can take time. Despite their ability to tap into psychology, they typically lie pathologically and often believe that those who fall for their plots are “suckers” who are either too gullible or unintelligent. The “smart people know best” mentality can allow them to keep a clear conscience while committing crimes.

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Types and categories of scams

Some people believe that psychics are just crooks.

Con artists generally choose between two main types of cons: indirect and direct. In the first type, the con artist contacts and interacts with victims from a distance. Direct group scams are much rarer, as they require the criminal to reveal his anonymity and make face-to-face contact with the person attacking, which is riskier to do.

Once a scammer decides which type of scam he is most comfortable with, he becomes more specific and selects a category. In indirect crimes, common categories include Internet and telephone scams, although some individuals work through regular mail. Texting scams are increasingly popular and often target teenagers. Examples of straightforward categories include selling low-quality items at auctions or other events, and presenting as a representative of a charity.

Behavior Pattern

Con artists can pit people against each other for personal gain.

Even though scammers have many different categories of scams to choose from, many of them do things the same way over and over again. The police refer to this pattern of behavior as the modus operendi (method of operation) of the bandit or MO. These patterns often allow law enforcement officers to detect the crook’s activity. In some cases, MOs also allow the police to review cases after arresting a crook to determine what or how many crimes he has committed.

Texting scams have increased in recent years.

Using a specific modus operendi gives individuals a better chance to protect themselves as it alerts them to what they may need to be aware of. New scammers are coming up with new schemes every day, however, it is not always possible to use patterns of behavior to detect a potential problem.

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Trust

In all categories of scams, the key element that makes cons successful is trust. A con artist uses this emotion to make his victims believe he is looking out for their interests. This makes it less likely that the victim will closely observe the scammer’s behavior and suspect wrongdoing. The fact that trust is so fundamental to crime means that a crook goes to great lengths to develop relationships, sometimes over many years.

Once victims discover that they have been tricked in some way, they may find it difficult to accept what the con artist has done. Often, they don’t want to believe that someone they trusted took advantage of them. In some cases where the trust was very deep and sincere, the experience of crime can be so devastating that they later have trouble opening up to other people they encounter. The targets of these crimes can also be so influenced by the event that they assume that all the bad guys operate in the same way as the one they knew.

Although cons always start out with the serious intention of scamming, as trust grows, some con artists become extremely emotionally invested with their target victims. If the criminal follows through with his plans, he may mourn the loss of his relationships as deeply as the people he tricked. Trust occasionally — if rarely — becomes so strong that the swindler cannot follow through with his plans, and in extreme cases, he might even admit his original intent and try to make amends for the dishonesty.

Motivations and Background

A common reason for people to become artists is because they are in difficult financial circumstances. They may turn to swindling if they cannot find legitimate employment. Others have family members, such as parents, who engage in the activity, so they come to feel as though scamming is natural and morally acceptable by watching other people do it.

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Some individuals also engage in this type of criminal activity because of its psychological benefits. Certain people enjoy the rush of pulling of a scheme, while others look for a sense of superiority over those they target. Crooks may also be using their crimes as a way of lashing out or gaining attention.

Protection

With so many criminals engaging in scam activity, experts recommend that individuals never give out personal information to a company or person they do not know. They also suggest alerting the police the moment fraudulent behavior is apparent. Educational websites, such as the one for the National Fraud Information Center, can also provide useful information about specific cons.

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