5 Quick Tips to Detecting a Con

The clever con artist is an actor who disarms his victims with a genial “nice guy” approach. But behind his friendly and jovial exterior is a shrewd psychologist who can isolate a potential victim and break down the resistance to his/her proposals. A con artist is difficult to detect by looks alone. But you often can recognize the swindler by his or her words or expressions. Words coupled with body language are a powerful mechanism in sending any type of message, especially to a potentially vulnerable victim. Here are five quick tips to keep you on your toes:


1.)   If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is…There is no rush when you are spending your hard earned money, slow down and investigate promises, claims, and references. Your radar should pop-up when you hear, ‘last chance’, ‘deal of a lifetime’, ‘now’, ‘cash only’, etc.

2.)   Cons like to get into your personal space. In fact, many like to reach out and touch a person on the shoulder; or the prolonged double handshake; or the hand on the back. All of these non-verbal cues display an extertion of power–watch politicians for example, it’s never a simple hello from those folks.

3.)   You should not have to send or pay anyone money to get money if it is truly free or you have won. FRAUD!!!

4.)   Stick to the law, your morals, and your ethics to guide your gut. I have seen many people get scammed trying to make a quick buck outside the normal patterns of life. Yes, buying an Ipad from a guy selling them out of a car trunk only to find out it’s a floor tile in a box is what I’m talking about. We all want the best deal, however, lets keep our guard up and stay true to ourselves while searching for it.

5.)   Lastly, a con works hard for your trust. Don’t trust everyone so quickly! Cons come in all shapes, sizes, sexes, races, etc. In fact, the best cons are the sharpest, most well-spoken, good looking people out there. They are hard to spot and lurk anywhere there is a potential victim.

I hope this help a bit. Be safe out there.


About the Author- Cameron Knauerhaze is the former CSI Board President and current member of the CSI Council. He is a Orange County, CA Police Sergeant with 16 years experience in patrol, investigations, and community policing.  He spent 6 years in investigations working homicide, fraud, and major narcotics. He has received specialized training from the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit. He holds a Master’s Degree in Communications.