6Only Amateurs Make It Sound Too Good to Be True

Tricks of the Trade and the Future of Financial Fraud

The most outrageous lies that can be invented will findbelievers if a man only tells them with all his might.

—MARK TWAIN

In 1996, NBC’s Dateline found a community in South Carolina where people earn their living as con artists. Every spring, some of the Irish Travellers in Murphy Village decamp and spread out across the country, running cons long and short: roofing scams, stolen property scams, home security scams—even investment scams.

There is something intriguing about an entire community of fraudsters. Perhaps when their children ask for a bedtime story, rather than “Little Red Riding Hood” or “The Three Little Pigs,” or a sports story ...

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