Stories about Ponzi schemes, huge cases of embezzlement, fraudulence within Wall Street, etc. have all shaped and influenced the entertainment industry’s portrayal of con artists to a large degree today. Usually, when we imagine a con artist, we envision something along the lines of a villain mastermind who plays countless manipulative games and gambits with others. We hold an awfully distorted view of what is in reality, much different from what we’ve been lead to believe within the past films and previous books we’ve all enjoyed.
Fiction vs. Reality
Suspension of disbelief may be helpful when attempting to appreciate a piece of film or literature, but outside of that, it simply serves as a bit of novelty for us to cling onto at best while potentially becoming destructive to us and our mindsets at worst. In the moment, we’re suddenly asked to sacrifice logic for pleasure, and following thereafter—tainted with hedonistic blight—we often do. There are virtually no cons to this until we let what has merely fit the criteria for a form of entertainment (not evidently for reality, however) influence our perceptions of things that are independent of that; con artists happening to be one of them usually.
The fact of the matter is that while most exceptional con artists are surely immoral, they are not “evil,” and while they are surely charming, they are not “enchanting.” Although all capable con artists embody these traits to noteworthy extents, you’ll find that they’re typically exaggerated in various forms of entertainment for the sake of your pleasure. These exaggerations—while admittedly amusing at times—have the unfortunate side effect of subconsciously rubbing off into our perceptions of con artists as a whole.
What Constitutes a Genuine Con Artist
Any genuine and competent con artist will approach their victims posing as a friend or an ally of sorts, and that’s because it’s absolutely necessary that they do so; otherwise their agenda’s don’t have much of a chance of ever being fulfilled. If a predator comes across as what they really are to their prey, then it simply will flee in the midst of their encounter, so naturally, con artists will put on all kinds of acts to deceive and manipulate their impending victims. The one’s with skin in the game will usually be selling their sufferer’s on all sorts of concepts and ideas that sound far too good to be true in nature and generally will also be attempting to bring out the worst in them so that they’re most apt to gain at their expense.
That Being Said, Are They Anything to Fret Over?
The chances are no, seeing as there’s an abundance of amateurs as opposed to the professionals. As for what separates the two of them? Mainly their proficiency in conning and their ability to fully conceal themselves as con artists. Amateurs do not pose much of a threat because while they may be diverse in number, they’re mediocre in practice. They are easily spotted and easily avoided.
The truth is that while all con artists certainly are deceptive to one degree or another, very few of them look like James Bond villains and more like the guy that frequents the corner next to the local gas station, insincerely asking people for cash (including yourself at times) with whatever reason in mind. At the end of the day, you’d be wise in understanding that while con artists can be portrayed in all sorts of fashions within entertainment, they are nothing like that in real life.