Do You Have a Con Story to Share?

I often think that the true masters of psychology (and certainly psychological persuasion) aren’t the psychologists, therapists or academics. They are the con artists (and not far behind, the magicians, salesmen, marketing gurus and advertisers).

Con routines are frightening in their vicious sense of shrewd exploitation, but equally fascinating in terms of the psychological dynamics.

I was once conned out of $40 on a game on ‘Monty’ in New York, at the time it annoyed the hell out of me, but since has provided lots of food for thought.

Everyone else was a stooge.

I was the mark.

As I pass by, I am fascinated by the hands offering and taking wads of cash from the main guy, playing the cups and ball routine.

People are winning every time, and he’s handing out cash, everyone’s enjoying themselves.

As I watch, I am now unwittingly involved.

Suddenly, no one is betting, yet to me its obvious that the ball is under a certain cup.

The guy doesn’t seem to care about the money anymore – he asks for random guesses.

With nothing to lose – I point out the cup I think its under. He nods yes! Well done! And suddenly – hes offering a handful of money! Wow, this guy really is a good guy, I haven’t even bet! I automatically reach out to take the money – but hold on – he remembers that I haven’t put anything up of my own.

So he declines, and asks me to prove that I had the money to bet.

I take out $40. He takes it, as if suggesting he is just about to offer me the money with his other hand – but then pulls both hands back, including my money.

He lifts the cup – obviously I was wrong, I’m the mark, the sleight of hand escaped me.

Everyone sighs “aw, bad luck!” someone slaps me on the back, all suggesting “there is nothing you can do now”.

Confused, I walk away, going over in my head what just happened, and wondering how I lost $40 (which in hindsight I realise was minimal).

I realised I was conned – but by the time I look back – they have all disappeared. I have met people who have a very similar story to tell of how the same thing happened to them.

The routine was explained on “The Real Hustle” (pictured) with a detailed account of all the subtleties.

Do you have a story to share of how someone tried (successfully or not) to con you? If so – please provide all the details, it would be great to share the story.


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  • […] the original here: Share a Con Story! Have you been conned? | Hypnosis, Hypnotherapy … Share and […]

  • Yes, I do have a story to tell, successful from the part of the conman unfortunately, so I would be interested in what you would have done in my place. It happened two or three years ago in London in one of the shops somewhere around Tottenham Court Road or Oxford Circus Station, where all those souvenir shops are. I whish I could remember exactly so I could let you know which shop it was but I avoided it like plaque ever since.
    I asked for a tee shirt which I was told was £5. After the chap gave it to me, I handed over a twenty pound note and he gave a fiver back. After some waiting I asked for the rest of the change for what he replied that he gave me back correctly as the T-shirt was £15.
    “NO IT WASN’T – I replied – you have clearly said £5 twice, and there’s still a tenner to give!”
    We went on repeating ourselves for the next few minutes, then I walked away – unlike him, I didn’t have the time to stand there all day nor I had evidence to take it any further.
    Today I think I would simply pick another T-shirt off before walking away as I strongly doubt he would have called for authorities.
    Any suggestions?

  • Hi Rita, I wonder what would have happened if you’d just asked for your money back (a refund)? I’d have thought that he’d have offered this immediately were it a genuine mistake (i.e. a refund) but being that he didn’t, was probably trying to con you out of an extra tenner. In a pretty shitty way! Those Tshirt shops in london, and the people who run them, are notorious for their techniques of ‘maximising revenue’.

  • Good idea, Will – now you mentioned it, he never asked me if I wanted it for £15, all the less it looks like a genuine mistake!
    Another ‘maximising revenue’: same area, and I can’t even blame them as this time it wasn’t really a con but a clever little trick I have seen many versions of before, just never exactly this one. I was looking at some postcards with nice big capital letters above them:
    I picked one but at the till I was asked for £1.50.
    I asked again how much it was and she repeated £1.50. I paid it and walked back to the sign to have a closer look.
    Between the lines “POSTCARDS” and “£50p”, with very-very small letters: “from”.
    Amazing – we never stop learning, are we! But I’ve not been back to that shop again.

  • Great breakdown for people. I’ve seen so many heavy guides that only seek to confuse those who are new to formal hypnosis.

  • Being a hypnotherapist, i’ve heard quite a few storys from clients from their past therapists/hypnotherapists etc. Promising the world then blaming them for when it didnt work after 10 sessions gone.


  • Cons are numerous.went to salon for haircut,well pretty straight you’d think.but the cashier had other ideas.she took my twenty passed it to her coworker folded in her hand with a little conversation took a five dollar bill out from the open register placed it on the register and claimed I gave her a five she asked for 1500 dollars to to which I said no way I came in with a twenty go ask your friend for the money you handed her.

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