What Exactly Is A Con Artist?

Scam artists are described by a variety of names, such as scammers, fraudsters, hustlers and grifters.

Another description would be ‘con artist’.


You may wonder what on earth could be artistic about conning someone but that’s the whole point – those behind the con see their work as a game and a challenge.

Con artists tend to run two distinctly different types of game.

Those who are just getting started, or who need a quick fix, choose to work short cons.

A more established conman will run a long con which will typically yield far greater rewards if successfully executed.

The reason why a con works is because the victims are greedy – there is a widely known maxim in the world of the con artist that says ‘You can’t cheat an honest man.’

A ‘short con’ is an opportunistic scam designed to instantly fleece the victim of all the money they have with them at that time.

An example of the short con would be the pigeon drop scam or the similar Jamaican Handkerchief scam.

On the other hand, a long con takes much longer to execute and requires meticulous planning in order to scam the victim out of much larger amounts of money.

An example of a long con would be one run by Gregor McGregor who persuaded people to invest in an imaginary colony known as Poyais.

Luckily for me, writing this article about cons gives me the perfect excuse to now add an almost random video clip about my favourite tv show, Lost –

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

In case you live in a cave, the guy featured in the above video is James “Sawyer” Ford, a notorious con artist who ends up on the island after the crash of Oceanic 815.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. Now all you need to do is work a video of Kate into one of your posts 😉

  2. The best con Sawyer did was getting that girl to ask him to teach her to con herself. Very clever long con that.

  3. MMMMMMMM, Sawyer is the reason I watch Lost, hes gorgeous.

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