The confidence actually refers to the amount of confidence the 'mark' has to place in the conman for the trick to have any chance at all of being pulled successfully.
Confidence in these cases means trust and it is the betrayal of trust that is so painful when anyone falls for these tricks.
Knowing that their trust has been so comprehensively and cynically abused and betrayed also contributes to the large number of the conned who are too embarassed to admit falling for these tricks, and keeps those with real doubts still in cult-type organisations long after they realise that these organisations are up to no good.
A friend told me of a lawyer who gave a continuing education CD on Ponzi schemes and how to counsel people who have been trapped in one. This was a few years before Madoff.
This attorney said that he tried whenever possible to assemble as many victims of the crook together in the room as possible before breaking the news.
He said the worst thing is discovering you've been tricked and feeling you've been made a fool of.
So it is best to find this out as part of a large group of fellow sufferers so that you can all discover you were not alone in this, you were all taken in by someone clever and can discover this as part of a community.
It also means the people can exchange contact information with each other and create communities of support for the ordeal ahead of them, after leaving the lawyer's office.
What is very hard is that many people come here to RR.com and are physically alone
at their computers. It has to be painful as hell to find out you've been conned.
Though it is helpful to read verbal testimonies in the form of text on the screen, that cannot replace the human to human solace of being together, body to breathing body,
in a community, when this same news is given.
Another point that is often missed:
It can be dangerous
to try to warn someone that he or she either has been conned or is being steered into a con.
Con artists are seductive.
If you try to offer a warning to someone who has already become unconsciously invested in the web spun by the con artist, that's as hazardous as trying to intervene in a domestic situation. Any cop will tell you to watch your ass on that one.
For it is just part of a con to steer the 'mark' into a trap.
The other part of the con artist's trick work is to cause the 'mark' to DISTRUST anyone who is OUTSIDE THE FRAME OF THE CON, especially anyone who tries to warn the 'mark' that he or she is in the clutches of a con artist.
Any information that undermines the con is made to seem an insult to the mark's intelligence, or sense of autonomy, or merely trivial 'noise'.
A very common method is to trick the 'mark' into believing that the person trying to warn of the trap is someone who is insulting the mark, by making it seem the mark is
so stupid that he or she needs to be warned.
Or that the person warning the 'mark' is oppressive and wants to limit the 'marks'
freedom to choose, or limit the marks freedom to have a good time.
The conman not only steers the 'mark' into a trap, but steers the 'mark' AWAY from
his or her real friends, the ones trying to tell the 'mark' that 1) conmen exist and 2) he or she is being seduced by one.
So again, a first rate con, not only sets up a trap, and steers the mark toward the trap, but flatters the mark's strength, intelligence and autonomy and at the very same time,
steers the mark AWAY from, even gets the 'mark' to resent, sometimes, even to hate anyone who tries to give a warning.
Suppose you are with a buddy and your pal is invited to a card game. Looks like fun, he sits at the table. You happen to see that the dealer has quietly slipped a marked deck of cards into the game.
If you try to tell your friend this, the crook may already have convinced your pal that the crook is the source of all pleasures. The crook may have brought some sexy ladies to join the table and your buddy is not only excited that the poker game looks good, but that its likely he's gonna get laid later that night.
So you arrive and try to warn that the cards are marked.
The crook will make it seem
You are paranoid to suggest that there is any such thing as marked decks of cards
Two, you are JEALOUS that your buddy has the ladies and you you want to get the girls away from him so that you can get them up to your room--so you're the enemy of his pleasure.
Bang. You, the real friend, are suddenly the bad guy. Your friend will tell you to F-off and then spend the rest of the night clinging to the crooked dealer, the marked cards, and the broads.
Or, the crook may suggest that you're insulting your friend's manhood by suggesting he's a child in need of protection, or that he's dumb and needs to be warned away from crooks who dont even exist.
Again, your pal hates your guts, and huddles closer to the crooks.
When the victim is left ruined, they not only have lost what they were swindled of, but may also have driven away friends, the real friends, who tried to warn them.
And they may be very reluctant ever to go to those rejected friends and admit to them
'You tried to warn me and you were right--I got screwed.'
Here is a real life example from someone who was pressured to give over 2 million dollars:
The worst aspect of the situation was the fact that my communication about this decision was severely restricted in terms of the number of people I was in a position to discuss it with.
When I met X in 1993, I had been seeing a psychotherapist four times a week for eight years.
X and many others in his community knew this.
It’s clear to me in retrospect that in making my $2 Million and other donations to XI was acting out some of the self-destructive issues that I had long been in therapy in to deal with.
When I told my therapist about meeting X, she warned me I that was vulnerable to potential brainwashing.
In contrast, when I revealed to X the insecurity and anxiety I felt about the prospect of joining his community, he told me how intelligent and bright I was, and how fully capable I was of making a mature decision on my own.
**Who was I going to listen to—someone who told me I was weak (my therapist), or someone who told me I was strong (X)?
At the time, the choice seemed clear, however misguided, and I left my therapist and fell deeply into the vortex of X community—the amazing people, the happiness, the feeling of belonging.
**Note: It is unlikely the therapist told this person she was weak. Telling someone 'you are vulnerable to manipulation/brainwashing' means telling someone they are human enough to respond to high pressure, manipulative social situations.
But..it appears that under the influence of X, this woman was conditioned to compute her therapist's warning as a shaming/insulting message 'You-are-weak'
THat is the sign of a top notch social technician: to get the mark to hear warnings as insults, even when no insult is intended--and to cuddle closer to the manipulator and to distance herself from the real friend who has given the warning!
Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 07/15/2009 01:18AM by corboy.