Con Artists Establish Trust Before the Score

Needless to say, you should always be wary when investing your hard-earned money. Allow me to add an additional reminder to keep in mind and carefully consider before reaching for the wallet or checkbook.

Here it is: Exercise extreme caution even if you are dealing with someone you trust and have dealt with in the past. Past performance does not ensure that everything will be done properly in the future.

Take for example a coin and precious metals dealer from New York who had long-term relationships with numerous collectors and investors around the country.

Went on for several years

Many of his clients would send him coins with the understanding that he would evaluate them and sell them upon the owners’ request and send them the proceeds. This went on for years without a hitch.

Then the dealer’s behavior took a turn for the worse. A few of his elderly clients from the Midwest sent him coins in accordance with longstanding practice. This time it was different. The dealer stopped returning phone calls and went underground.

One of the victims, who had sent the dealer coins worth more than $100,000, became suspicious and contacted law enforcement. Cops tracked down the dealer and found out that he sold the coins and put the proceeds in his own pocket.

Investigators said that he apparently targeted these elderly customers because they were old and frail and he thought he could get away with it.

Romantic relationships also

So much for established relationships. This time it was a business connection. Similar betrayals also happen in personal, romantic relationships.

What often occurs in such situations is that an opportunistic person with no conscience, a con artist, builds up a feeling of trust in his victim, then when the time is right he takes advantage of that trust for his own purposes, which are often financial.

What are the warning signs that things could turn bad? If the con artist is good at what he does, there may not be any. An amateur might give himself away by telling too much, pushing too hard, or cross himself up with contradictory information.

Fortunately in this case the crook got caught. The coin dealer will spend a couple of years in prison.

Moral of the story: If your mother says she loves you, check it out.

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