The original "Confidence Man" wasa charming crookfrom the 1840s named William Thompson. His "con" was to strike up a conversation with a stranger, win their trust and then ask an odd question: Did they have enough confidence in him to lend them their gold watch for the day? Yes, people actually fell for that.
And times haven't changed much. It's amazing how far some people go to con their unsuspecting friends as well as strangers. Here are five more cunning con men (and women).
1. Charles Ponzi and His Infamous 'Scheme'
You know you're an accomplished con man when they name an entire crime after you. In the 1920s, Charles Ponzi duped investors out ofan estimated $32 million(around $475 million today) using the infamous "scheme" that now bears his name.
That's why Ponzi schemes are able to fool so many otherwise smart people. They appear to be hugely profitable. The problem with Ponzi's scheme — and later iterations like Bernie Madoff's record-breaking investment fraud — is that the money is never invested in an actual security. Ponzi and Madoff simply took the flood of money coming in and paid it back to the early investors (and themselves, of course).
At one point, Ponzi was receiving每周100万美元渴望美国人将自己的未来投入到令人难以置信的投资机会上。当《波士顿邮报》揭露庞氏骗局时，他被扔进监狱，他的投资者失去了房屋和救生。不到一个世纪后，麦道夫（Madoff）在庞氏骗局倒闭之前以190亿美元的价格“脱颖而出”。
2. Anna Delvey, the 'SoHo Scammer'
从2013年到2017年，Anna Delvey似乎无处不在 - 欧洲艺术展览，独家纽约夜总会，4,000美元的一夜之间的酒店 - 与从著名演员到Tech Moguls到Trust-Funcant Fashionistas的每个人都是“亲密的朋友”。凭借她模糊的欧洲口音，高级服装的服装，并养成用清脆的100美元钞票倾倒的习惯，everybody assumed she came from money。
Delvey's schemes began to unravel in 2017 when she was kicked out of multiple New York City hotels and restaurants for failure to pay, and appeared in a New York Post article under the headline "Wannabe socialite busted for skipping out on pricey hotel bills。”
3. Natwarlal, the 'King of Cons'
印度最臭名昭著和著名的骗子被“将”泰姬陵“卖”给无知的游客，伪造了印度总统拉金德拉·普拉萨德（Rajendra Prasad）的签名，并至少从监狱中逃脱了八次，包括曾经穿着后卫的制服。生于印度的“王国之王”的Mithilesh Kumar Srivastava被称为Natwarlal。
Natwarlal was a gifted forger and actor. One of his favorite cons was to pose as a personal assistant to a dignitary or politician and enter a jewelry store, placing a large order for expensive watches to be presented in a special government ceremony. When it came time to pay for the watches, Natwarlal would arrive in a chauffeured car and drive the jewelry store clerk to a bank, where Natwarlal would emerge with a perfectly forged cashier's check for the full amount. By the time the check bounced, Natwarlal was long gone.
Natwarlal boasted that no prison could hold him for more than a year, and that wasn't an exaggeration. He was sentenced to113 yearsbehind bars for dozens of scams, but only served 20 of them. His most brazen escape came in 1957 when he broke out of the Kanpur jail in a smuggled guard's uniform and paid off the guards with a suitcase filled with cash that turned out to be old newspapers. Another time he faked a kidney ailment in police custody and persuaded his captor to take him to a posh hotel where he allegedly staying, so he could get money to pay the doctor. At the hotel, he gave his captors the slip.
4. Simon Leviev, the 'Tinder Swindler'
在流行的约会应用Tinder上，只需要一个“滑动正确”，以引发与完全陌生人的联系。这也是骗子找到下一个标记的理想场所。多年来，西蒙·列维耶夫（Simon Leviev）吸引了一系列成功而美丽的欧洲妇女信任他，甚至爱他，然后据称使她们从估计的$10 million。
When Leviev went on dates, he presented himself as the heir to an Israeli diamond-industry fortune and he seemed to have the money to back it up. He'd fly his new girlfriends around on his private jet and treat them to lavish meals and stays at four-star hotels. What they didn't know was that all of it was being paid for by the last woman who fell for his fraud.
Once the relationship was getting serious, Leviev would reveal that his life was in danger and he needed to send money from a third-party account so it couldn't be tracked. The worried girlfriends complied, charging tens of thousands of dollars to their credit cards, or even sending him a suitcase of cash. Leviev would soon disappear, using the swindled money to fund his next con.
5. Gregor MacGregor, the Scottish Financier Who Invented a Country
在19世纪初期，欧洲投资者正在寻找新的地方停放他们的钱，拉丁美洲看上去非常有吸引力。随着西班牙帝国的沦陷，拉丁美洲有许多新的独立国家渴望吸引其不断增长的经济体的投资者，而他们的债务比欧洲债券付出了。如果您能承受风险，墨西哥债券paid 6 percent， 例如。
All told, MacGregor raised £1.3 million selling fake government bonds, which is worth roughly $5 billion today. Pursued by angry investors, he died in exile in Venezuela.