Chapter 9. The Reverse Sting

the Sting, mentioned elsewhere in this book (and in my opinion probably the best movie that's ever been made about a con operation), lays out its tricky plot in fascinating detail. The sting operation in the movie is an exact depiction of how top grifters run "the wire," one of the three types of major swindles referred to as "big cons." If you want to know how a team of professionals pulls off a scam raking in a great deal of money in a single evening, there's no better textbook.

But traditional cons, whatever their particular gimmick, run according to a pattern. Sometimes a ruse is worked in the opposite direction, which is called a reverse sting. This is an intriguing twist in which the attacker sets up the situation so that the victim calls on the attacker for help, or a coworker has made a request, which the attacker is responding to.

How does this work? You're about to find out.


When the average person conjures up the picture of a computer hacker, what usually comes to mind is the uncomplimentary image of a lonely, introverted nerd whose best friend is his computer and who has difficulty carrying on a conversation, except by instant messaging. The social engineer, who often has hacker skills, also has people skills at the opposite end of the spectrum—well-developed abilities to use and manipulate people that allow him to talk his way into getting information in ways you would never have believed possible.



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