The best scams are built around conspiracy theories. They afford the ultimate shell game.
Because it gives the scam artist “cover.” It fortifies him with an automatic defense against his critics. It exonerates him from past failures. And, importantly, it provides an excuse for future delays, gives him time to run for cover when everything collapses. In other words, it creates the perfect stage setting from which to operate.
Overall, a well-developed conspiracy theory is a great rallying theme. It blends like minds, mutual resolve, shared purpose, goals. It breeds collective paranoia. There is, therefore, a set of basic rules the scam artist follows in producing this highly-desired atmosphere of “communal harmony” to embellish his “pitch. Accomplishing this enables him to fully exploit his con game in all of its ramifications. Hence, these are those rules-of-the-game he follows, rules to watch for, in order to protect yourself to the fullest.
1. Get your sucker-audience to focus on some elaborate conspiracy, one dedicated to stomping on courageous visionaries like yourself–you, the con man, being the one who is able to cut through the enemy’s monopoly and use his investors’ funds wisely to bestow benefits upon them–earn money, save money, awards, merits, fame–never before dreamed possible. If the victims fully subscribe to your hogwash, they will earn Brownie points along the way. Good mind game.
2. Now, get your foot in the door. Light a fire under your sucker-audience. Get them, as a group, ready to go bear hunting with a stick. Talk about your valiant battles with some government bureaucracy or private organization Get them stomping mad and eager to join you in your crusade against “them.”
3. Dispensing learned counsel in rapid-fire bursts, talk bravely about your battles with the bad guys trying to steal, or bury, your ideas. Fearlessly claim that you will shred,
obliterate, destroy your records before you will permit the indignity of allowing these to fall into “their” hands. Whip them into a frenzy, figuratively ready to chase a tornado in a convertible with the top down.
4. In addition to your “base” enemy, faceless government agencies of many types also make good whipping boys. These must also be made out to be “the enemy” you must bravely fight. Cite examples of their misdeeds. Cite the Law of Bureaucracy they follow: Nothing is ever accomplished by being reasonable.
5. Don’t fear investors who defect. There will always be some. Most will feel they’ve been suckered, and be too embarrassed to make a lot of noise about their misfortunes (of dealing with you). With the few who will protest too loudly, call them agents of the “Big Conspiracy” operating against you.
(“Do you see how they infiltrate?” you will ask of your remaining, loyal followers.)
6. Bury all attacks against you in a wave of minutia. Create enough distractions to mesmerize these people, put them to sleep over endless, meaningless detail. Tire them to the point where they will do anything to avert further debate, if only to stay awake.
7. Freely and frequently threaten your detractors with lawsuits. It will make a high percentage of them run for the tall grass, shut their mouths in fear.
8. Be the true crusader in every way. Stick closely to the scam artist’s parable: To thine own self be true, and lie like hell to everyone else. Say you are not in this for the money. Piously proclaim your altruistic intent: to save humanity.
9. Make your pitch to groups of people who have had faith, trust, and American Way values instilled in them from birth. Many groupings of senior citizens, religious types, family farmers fill this bill. These are your primary targets
10. Among other preferred groups are those already pre-conditioned to accepting conspiracy theories, like those who believe in the Flat Earth Society railings against Round-Worlders, in UFO cover-ups, and JFK assassination plots.
11. Always get your victims to focus on theory and abstractions. When their minds stray from this, fog their attention, get it away from any kind of evidence which can be measured. (This is especially important when trying to pawn off worthless, hi-tech junk.)
12. Be bold, loud. Make your claims and proclamations to all who will hear. People tend to think something so transparently out in the open could not possibly be a fly-by-night undertaking.
13. Shoot for only a small, initial amount of up-front money. Maybe $49, say, for a tape, DVD, and / or an information kit of some kind.. This, on the premise that, once the sucker has paid a bit of his required dues,, it’s easier to squeeze more out
14. You must have your investors forfeit their rights to legal action any way you can. Give them a–“ho hum, just routine”–document to sign. Pull this out from under a pile of documents, as if it is so insignificant it almost got lost. Or, hide your disclaimer in a nondisclosure agreement, in the smallest of small print you can arrange with your printer to crank out.
15. Enlist a small group of the most gullible to help you recruit the rest. (If you, as a potential participant, pay heed to the urgings of these discombobulated people, it would be like listening to a rap group named, Insane Clown Posse.)
It’s all a head shaker. Trying to cut through the haze and figure the con man’s’ psychological approach is much like being forced into making a choice between having double vision and hearing a constant echo. But, it’s worth the effort. Once you do sort it out and finally understand how to zero in on all of these traits and mannerisms, the working pattern of the con artist will be clearly spelled out for you. It is only then that you will be in the best position to protect yourself from any kind of curve ball he will throw your way.