The official site of bestselling author Michael Shermer The official site of bestselling author Michael Shermer

Art of Con Games Part 2

November 2007

The art of the con is as old as civilization, employing the skills of deception, misdirection, and the psychology of human greed and the desire to get something for nothing. In this episode Shermer employs a professional con artist to teach him the fine art of conning people.

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11 Comments to “Art of Con Games Part 2”

  1. Susan Freiman Says:

    But why do so many people still believe homeopathy works, even to the point of getting angry if challenged?

    I guess it’s not unlike the persistent belief in god.

  2. Eric Says:

    I can’t believe he fell for it. I think I’d have alarm bells going off in my head at handing my wallet over to anyone… even if I did have $3k in my pocket, I could stand to loose so much more. Still it’s worked for ages.

  3. KarenS Says:

    So, if you’re in that situation, the proper response would be, “Oh my, yes, that is my wallet, thank you so much for noticing I dropped it!” Then you walk away with their three grand.

    Too bad I’d never think quickly enough to pull it off, even if I ever did find myself in that situation. Thanks, Mr Shermer, for the video–it was very informative.

  4. lindsay Says:

    In November 2008 I was a gullible pigeon and lost $6000. Some people I understand have lost their life’s savings. Beware,of trying to help others if it involves money, and especially you are vulnerable if you are a senior citizen (whose instincts are not as sharp as they once were), which I am. The scam worked on me but was a different scenario yet similar to what you have shown.

  5. Ed Johnson Says:

    Amazing. I’d be interested in any thoughts about belief in God and religion as scams for the gullible. Any ideas about how to help people avoid that scam?

  6. GH Says:


    Simple. Ask for proof. Not claims about miracles; hard, tangible proof.

  7. Crass Børsting Says:

    The day (the hour, the minute) God proves his existence, this world as we know it comes to an end. You can believe in God or leave him out of the picture, but proof will not be delivered as a matter of everyday life.

    All kinds of hustlers can turn a profit on this fact, but it is a fact never the less.

  8. Crass Børsting Says:

    P.S. Thanks a lot for the videos. Instructive and funny.

  9. Jim Tatro Says:

    Wow, these videos were awsome,


    Claims about supernatural events are only believable if they come directly from supernatural entities. (Although, by interacting with the world they would necessarily be “natural” entities, I suppose)

    If claims of “end times” and other prophecies come from scraps of paper written upon with ink by very “non-supernatural” people (bronze-age con artists), then I am very skeptical of them.

    Calling it a “fact” adds no heft to the argument.

  10. weeklyrob » Lemme Just Hold Your Wallet Says:

    […] The Pigeon Drop. […]

  11. Josh Says:

    Honest people with less greed are less vulnerable to such cons.

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