• Andy Paulucio

Are you being scammed by a con artist? Beware of these red flags!

Con artists are everywhere and are always on the lookout to prey upon new victims. Dating apps and other social networks are often common platforms to come across these individuals. There is a large pool of people on social media, and let’s face it, many are willing to give in to someone who can manifest their inner fantasies. That is what makes them vulnerable, which makes them the perfect target. Con artists are capable of seeing through people’s vulnerabilities and exploiting them. But if you know what to look out for, you should be able to avoid falling into their trap.

So what are some of the red flags you should be on the lookout for?

I have narrowed them down into three phases.

1- The Pitch. Con artists will likely reach out to you, and they will have a fabricated but compelling story about their background (e.g., successful entrepreneur, government agent, etc.). They might put themselves in a position of power (bearing so much responsibility) to stir feelings of awe and admiration. This way, they can captivate you by leveraging their position as a means of persuasion. In addition, they will likely provide forged evidence (e.g., images, files, etc.) to support their narrative and avert any suspicions.

2- The Incubation. This phase is most likely to occur on larger-scale scams.

Con artists may spend a few days to several weeks consolidating their credibility. To achieve this, they will rely on manipulative tactics, such as going absent for brief periods to strengthen their position of power and adhere to their story (e.g., having to go on business trips).

Another commonly used tactic is repetition. Con artists will verbally repeat the same narrative over and over again. They might also make you feel you owe them by deceiving you into thinking they are spending time and resources on you (e.g., buying you gifts, taking you out for a meal, etc.).

3- The Gist. Once the con artist has consolidated their credibility and earned your trust, they will request from you a monetary sum to address a situation that adheres to their story (e.g., there was an incident in their affairs or an investment opportunity). The request will come with the promise of paying you back or the guarantee of receiving greater returns. The essential characteristic of this request is that it is urgent. They might inflict psychological pressure on you, resorting to repetition and fabricated evidence to deceive you into believing there is much at stake (e.g., the relationship, your safety, etc.) if you don’t take action immediately.

One thing to note is that once you have given in to their demand, they will continue to ask for more.

Your most obvious red flag is when they ask you for money or something of value, regardless of how credible the situation may seem. If you find yourself in a situation with somebody waving any red flags, it is better not to confront them. Instead, it might be best to seek assistance from the respective authorities.

I hope this helps!