A Series on Con Artists: Types of Con Artist Scams Past Con Artists Current Con Artists

In the late 1840s, the term "confidence man" was coined to describe William Thompson

People generally tell the truth or lie within certain bounds, and over the course of a lifetime, it goes from childhood learning through youth and into maturity, reflecting on their character, but seldom becoming criminal.  A few, however, turn to wield words and their charisma as larcenous tools to profit off of the loss of others.  It may be intentional or an act of desperation, but it is a fact of life there are Con Artists in Davis.

Specific events can be found either in:

There are also certain Types of Con Artist Scams that occur over and over again to watch out for.


Strategies to help honest people

DavidGrundler offered these words of wisdom: "I have found that the easiest way to tell if these people are legit is to offer them the specific help they ask for. If they say they need money for a train ticket, I offer to buy them a train ticket. If they say they need money for gas, I offer to pay for their gas. If they say they need money for food because they are starving, when I am coming out of the grocery store, I offer them a loaf of bread. They usually get indignant and try to come up with some lame excuse of why that won't help them. One guy who claimed to be starving actually turned down a loaf of bread. Anyway, in all of the time I have used this approach, I have only come across one person in need of what they were asking for."

  • That actually sounds like a great idea. Amazing how rarely we think of the simplest solutions... WesOne
    • You would think, but it's not fool proof. A friend of mine is a manager at a local fast food restaraunt and there is often a homeless person out front with a cup for change. According to this friend he will accept food, then promptly throw it away. — MM
  • It is a great idea. And I once bought a drink, sandwich, and chips for a guy hanging out at a grocery store, asking for money. Although he no doubt would have preferred the money, he did seem grateful for the food. —cp
  • Absolutely a great idea, when you are able to follow through on the offer. -ES
  • Yeah David, that seems like a solid approach, it was the one I came up with using the power of hindsight, but alas you have the same idea... Daubert
  • I gave out shampoos and snacks I got for free at the stores (easy, they're stationed right outside!) and they appreciated it - LY
  • This is a good strategy, or another good one is to give to a legitimate charity and then direct them to that charity. A fun one I learned from a friend is to buy McDonalds gift certificates (you can get them for $1) and give them out, or something similar. Also, I like to carry around dog treats in places where there are lots of homeless dogs. People seem really surprised when you hand them a dog treat, and the dog is definitely happy. From living in the middle of an enormous city for years, I make it a rule not to believe the stories that anyone tells me who randomly approaches me on the street, but I've noticed that in Davis it happens so rarely that people are frequently caught off guard. Don't worry about what happens if you don't help someone whose story you are unsure about—there are PLENTY of community resources and plenty of other people who they will ask after you. - SweetMeliss


See also shadiness factorbank robberiescults and crime