Con Artists have a Sucker List. Don't get on it!

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I recently received a call from Mary, a wise, soft spoken woman who reported that a "nice looking, clean-cut young man" had recently knocked at her door claiming to be a phone company representative who urged her to let him come inside her home to "explain the many new services" his company was offering homeowners in her neighborhood. Mary believed this was a con and wasn't about to fall for it. She was right.

He persisted in his attempts to get her to open the door and let him share what he had to offer. Mary responded several times that she was not interest -but he was persistent and didn't appear to be leaving. Finally, Mary yelled back through the door, "I'm calling the police right now!" And with that simple statement, the guy took off. She peeked out the window to see him running as fast as his feet could carry him towards towards a nearby waiting car.

Mary wanted to share what she calls her "close brush with a con artist" in hopes her story will help warn others to beware of similar ploys -and cons.

Today there are all sorts of predators looking for ways to con us. Unfortunately, a con artist is so slick and clever, spotting one can be a difficult task.  Yet there are warning signs.

The con artist often relies on pressure tactics.  The "act now or you'll miss out" deal is designed to pressure you into making a hasty decision.  Given a minute to think, most people wouldn't reveal their personal information to strangers. A con artist steals that vital minute away; he catches his victim off-guard. Remember a trustworthy business or charity will never ask you to make an immediate decision.  If someone offers you a limited-time opportunity, think twice.

Many of us believe we can spot a criminal simply by how they appear. We may envision criminals as rude and scruffy. Yet many con artists look like the guy or girl next door and often purposely charming and polite.  That contradiction makes it hard to spot a con artist. 

A con artist often reveals him or herself through an aggressive eagerness.  They may come across as extremely excited about the "deal" they have for you, claiming that since you are - a hard-working, honest person - they can offer you this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 

They will ask you personal questions about your family and your career and sympathizes when you tell them about your fight with your daughter or your hard-luck story.  He/she laughs at every joke you make - whether funny or not - and compliments you on your clothes or the color of your front door. The con artist is simply trying to be your friend.  You would never suspect a friend would do you wrong.  Be wary around anyone who acts like your best friend after knowing you for mere minutes.

Beware of the "Sucker List"

This is exactly what it sounds like - a list of victims of fraud.  When a person falls for a fraud scheme, his name is added to the sucker list.  A con artist then sells this list to other criminals.  Why is this list so important?  If someone falls for one fraud scheme, odds are he/she will fall for another.  

You can never take your name off the sucker list, but you can avoid making the list twice!

Always protect your personal information, and never reveal your banking information to anyone -just because they ask.  Think twice before doing business with an unknown company; research the company on the Better Business Bureau's website, and type its name into a search engine to learn more about its history.  And never let politeness get in the way; it is okay to be rude to a con artist.  Hang up the phone or close the front door if you feel someone is trying to swindle you. 

Fast talk, flattery, and inconsistencies may be red flags. If you can spot the con artist, before he or she spots you, chances are you will avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

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I have been a victim of contractor fraud...and I would like to make other people aware of the individual that did it...In the Name of Crawford Carpet Services and Crawford Enterprise, Joseph M. Crawford swindled me out of thousands of dollars...but to make it worse he became my boyfriend and caused a great heart ache as well as the monetary fraud. I can see that his affections were forged and I was just a mark. It's not a nice feeling and I do not wish anyone else to go through this.

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