How cons work (with video)

It’s all about manipulating your in-built reciprocity of trust.

Wish I’d known about this years ago… I can look back and see several examples of how I’ve been royally taken (not for cash, thank goodness) via the same mechanism.  The video is worth viewing, too.

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  1. Social engineering is a great thing to learn to defend against. Every time I learn a little bit more about this I recall the (in)famous hacker Kevin Mitnick ( who was caught and later employed by large companies as a line of defense. I believe he was one of the first techy bad-doers that are now considered something of a stereotype or urban legend in this vein of rich consulting gig hacker fates. At any rate, he wrote The Art of Deception (, which is a great read.

    Personally, I don’t like being known for knowing this stuff. I can only hope that those I have done business with for 15 years understand that I would never apply it in our transactions or dealings. But I can feel like my eyes are a little more open for learning a bit about social engineering here and there.

  2. convivialdingo

     /  November 30, 2008

    That was good…. and a great explanation of the intent.

  3. I’ve been totally taken on this by folks who would never, ever, call themselves grifters, either, but who think of themselves as perfectly upright people.


  4. Scary and normal. Just like that study that just came out showing that not only do over 35% of college freshmen lie, cheat and steal, but that they also think they’re more honest than 95% of their peers — our first and last lies are to ourselves.

  5. blackpine

     /  December 8, 2008

    In that I owe folks money, I suppose I can’t pass a judgement except to say that the target should have simply said, “Let’s return it.”


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