The Grifter’s Real Game? Psychology
The grifter, the con artist, the flimflammer—the confidence man (or woman) goes by many names. But what the best of them have in common, according to The Confidence Game author Maria Konnikova, is an uncanny knack for understanding human psychology. From the “put-up” (identifying the victim, or “mark”) to the “blow-off and fix” (when a victim has been thoroughly fleeced and is convinced not to squeal), the master grifter’s techniques string us along, playing on our unconscious biases every step of the way. Konnikova joins guest host Manoush Zomorodi to talk about some of the most successful con games, why they work, and how our own psychology predisposes us to take the grifter’s bait. Read an excerpt about the first “Nigerian Prince” scam here.
Maria Konnikova is author of The Confidence Game: Why We Fall For It…Every Time (Viking, 2016), and is a contributing writer for The New Yorker. She’s based in New York, New York.