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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

Con Men--Understanding How They Operate Can Save You Big Money

23 December 2004

Every year, slick thieves using the phone, Internet, mail and face to face situations steal billions of dollars from people by "conning" them out of their money. It's extremely important to understand how these thieves operate in order to protect yourself. You have to know the type of "pitches" or approaches they make to offering you a deal that's often too good to be true if you expect to be free of their thievery.

Con men (and women) have been with us says the days of the cave men ("Have I got a good deal for you on a new cave...") Here are a select group of books which can help make you (or a relative or friend) smarter, more selective if a slick operator should approach you or them in the future:

Frauds, Rip-Offs and Con Games by Victor Santoro (200 pages, paperbound, $13.95). Revised in 1999, this work covers diploma mills, gypsies and phony repair scams, restaurant scams, phony writer schools, credit card maneuvers, health club cons, automobile rip-offs, security scams, boiler room operations.

Frauds. Deceptions and Swindles by Carl Sifakis (196 pages, paperbound, $17.95). This 2001 book is like a directory or who's who of con men. Some are still in prison, others have been released and are in low profile or are now teaching people how to protect themselves. This is a history of how the cons worked, in this century and centuries past, in alphabetical order, including pyramid schemes, savings and loan scandals, Internet crime and computer fraud, medical quackery, great impostors, bunco moves and confidence swindles (like shown in the movie "The Sting.")

The American Confidence Man by David Maurer (300 pages, paperbound, $38.95). This great classic, published in 1974, was written to educate law enforcement personnel, sociologists and the general public how big cons and little (short) cons work. Not only does the author explain how the cons work, but he explains the terminology (language) of the perpetrators and offers a historical evaluation of how the operations evolved and continued to be modified and adapted to new generations of victims.

Con Man (A Master Swindler's Own Story) by J.R. "Yellow Kid" Weil and W.T. Brannon (334 pages, paperbound, $14). Originally published in 1948 and reprinted in 2004. Weil, a confidence man for decades (using phony oil deals, fixed races and an endless list of tricks to snare an increasingly gullible public), geared many other cons to what happened nationally or internationally in regard to news. He lived to be 101 and operated primarily in the Chicago area.

Rip-Offs, Cons and Swindles (Money For Nothing) by M. Allen Henderson (192 pages, paperbound, $9.95). Published in 1996, it outlines how charity frauds work, religious and spiritual bunco operations, how insurance frauds work and how hot check artists take advantage of individuals and business, with a section on phony money orders. Examines specific incidents, which should alert readers to scams thieves still employ on a daily basis.

Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com
Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com