What I mean is would you be able to recognize or spot a con artist if they approached you ? Do you think that you are susceptible to a con?
Most of us would say certainly not. I am no mug.
Personally, having worked around the world, I think that I have developed a kind of sixth sense or could just have a more cautious attitude than others.
Before I go on let’s establish what is a “Con trick” or a “confidence scam”
You will find more information here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confidence_trick
It is very important to understand that Confidence Tricks exploit typical human characteristics such as greed, dishonesty, vanity, opportunism, lust, compassion, credulity, irresponsibility, desperation for instance. Something that we all have in us at some time.
The other major area of opportunity that con artists use is simply that the victim relies on the good faith of the con artist.
The vast majority of the people I meet are therefore susceptible to being ripped off in a con trick here in Portugal. The reasons are that when we come to Portugal many of us relax and switch off the radar that we would have used in our home countries. In our effort to get to know Portuguese people we allow them to get friendly quickly.
Perhaps too quickly?
I am not suggesting that anyone keep the local people at arms length – just to be aware.
The main reason for writing this post is that I was shopping in Leroy-Merlin the ether day. It was raining hard so I went into the underground car park. As I was getting out of my car a nearby car driver tooted his horn and came over to me like a long lost friend.
I did not know him. I felt that the contact was just too friendly for a Portuguese person. It was in fact the “Approach” – step 1 of a con.
So I pretended that I did not speak any Portuguese and after a little while I could see by his face that he was going to close this contact down quickly and move on – which he did.
I should also mention that he did not park his car. A nice Audi in a bay but kept it in the road part with its engine running and driver’s door wide open.
As I said I felt there was something wrong so I remembered his registration. Just in case he was copying my car’s remote locking frequency and trying to steal my car.
I went to buy my items and came back out into the car park. There he was further along the car park!
Parked in the same way, door open, and showing a silver cardboard box to an elderly guy who was putting things in the back of his car . As I slowly drove past them I opened my car window and said in Portuguese, “I see that you have found another old friend”. I also said to the old guy “don’t buy it”.
I could tell from the “grifters” face that he was shocked but I don’t think our little exchange would have stopped him.
I only raise this whole point about cons because, apart from the one described above, I have heard that many foreign people are being approached by people in the out of town stores like DeBorla by people asking for money to buy a new tyre to get them home.
There is no Tyre and they are not going home.
It is what the Police call a “short con” or small con – a fast swindle which takes just minutes. It typically aims to rob the victim of everything in his or her wallet.