A fool and his money are soon parted but these days most of us seem to be fools and there are easy and apparently legal ways to part fools from their money. The scams that seem to succeed best are those that concentrate on taking a small sliver of cash from hundred and thousands of people, rather than the big coup that parts a single person from millions. Continue reading
Some years ago I wrote about the true life of slippery Syd Gottfried, who was a master con man. I tried not to glamorise Syd’s escapades in my book; there is nothing glamorous about cheating people. I did find the process interesting and revealing, and from time to time entertaining as well.
I did learn, from talking to Syd extensively two things. First, there is a fine but very blurred line between what is legitimate in business and what is illegal. Secondly, it is not so much the trusting people who are liable to be conned, but the greedy people. The chief device of all con men is to prey on greed, which exists in many people as the force that drives them and in likewise in many companies. It therefore comes as no surprise that some of the world’s largest banks and hedge funds have been apparently conned out of $50 million. Continue reading