- Hardcover: 190 pages
- Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (September 28, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1442207310
- ISBN-13: 978-1442207318
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,360,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Con: How Scams Work, Why You're Vulnerable, and How to Protect Yourself
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Career magician and identity theft expert Munton teams with writer McLeod to deliver this fascinating, informative, and highly entertaining primer on the various ways the uninitiated may find themselves ripped off by a con artist. (Publishers Weekly) Career magician and identity theft expert Munton teams with writer McLeod to deliver this fascinating, informative, and highly entertaining primer on the various ways the uninitiated may find themselves ripped off by a con artist. Filled with personal stories (told in hindsight, of course), the cautionary tales have a common thread: it could happen to anyone―be they financially struggling college student, good Samaritan, single mom, or scientist. Munton and McLeod's featured narratives include people who have been conned by a new romantic interest or led astray by greed, curiosity, or basic inattentiveness. Rather than inducing paranoia, Munton and McLeod stress the importance of critical thinking when it comes to our money, identities, and time. For example, Munton schools readers on how to recognize a Ponzi scheme and cautions against giving out a social security number without serious consideration; in most instances, the receiving party doesn't need the social security number at all. This book will help people recognize a credible opportunity when it presents itself, and avoid those "opportunities" that don't pass muster.
The popular cultural depiction of a con shows an ingenious bit of skulduggery pulled off by a charming schemer or schemers. Think The Sting and Ocean's Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen. But the prevalence of cons―40 times more common than car theft and burglary―and the range of its perpetrators, from family members to global Internet scammers, demand more vigilance than do other crimes. Magician and expert on deception Munton, abetted by writer McLeod, goes behind the scenes to present stories of ordinary con victims to dissect how scams are perpetrated and the elements and tactics of typical cons. The authors go on to detail seven categories of con, from foreign lottery and sweepstakes scams to reshipping schemes to fraudulent home repair. From telemarketing tricks to crimeware, they describe how scammers use technology to gain access to potential victims. They also detail how to protect against the cons, identify possible setups, and reduce the likelihood of falling into conning traps. Finally, they advise readers on recovering from identity theft. Completely fascinating and insightful. (Booklist)
Although most people believe that they're too smart or too protected to be conned, anecdotal and statistical evidence says otherwise. The scams may be small, like someone stealing a prescription drug bottle and refilling it under a fake name, or they could be vast Ponzi schemes that defraud thousands. The range of scams is staggering, and this extremely thorough and timely guide details many common cons that could fool just about anyone. More importantly, it gives concrete tips on dealing with scammers and preventing such traps at the outset. For each scenario, the authors describe a con by using a fictional character who's been duped, and the device works very well, making the material engaging, accessible and understandable....In short, straightforward sections, other cons are analyzed, such as telemarketers, emergency phone calls from fake relatives, door-to-door scams, check-bouncing tactics, and identity-theft strategies. The authors bring considerable expertise to the task. James Munton is a magician who's performed several times at the White House, and is now a speaker on the subjects of identity theft and data breaches, while Jelita McLeod's journalistic background includes stories for the Washington Post and National Public Radio. That blend works well, since so many cons are much like magic tricks, with sleight-of-hand and misdirection, and it takes a reporter's skill to really dig into why they succeed. 'For every con, there is a corresponding trait in human nature that is being targeted,' the authors warn. Understanding how cons work, why they prey on basic emotional needs, and what can be done to stop them are all vital in boosting protection against them. This compelling work goes a long way toward putting distance between scammers and their prey. (Foreword Reviews 2011-09-01)
It’s the ultimate irony that James Munton co-wrote a book on scams. That’s because Munton is a magician. And like scammers, magicians are masters of deception and illusion. But the Dallas resident said there’s a critical difference between how he uses deception and how a crook deploys it: “A magician uses his knowledge of deception to entertain people, whereas the scam artist uses that to get the person to give them something,” said Munton, co-author with Jelita McLeod of The Con: How Scams Work, Why You’re Vulnerable, and How to Protect Yourself. (The Dallas Morning News 2011-09-18)
It is unfortunate but in my 20 years in law enforcement I can recall many of the same victims' stories as told in The Con. James and Jelita have provided historical and statistical information with actual accounts of these frauds through the victims and suspects perspectives. These victims' stories along with the tips and resources can help raise awareness and hopefully help individuals prevent or recover from these ever prevalent crimes. (Michael B. Dana, Financial Crimes Detective, Dallas Police Department)
This is the best book about scams I have ever read. It is a wake-up call for all those who think they can't be conned. The compelling stories show how real-world cons unfold, why they work and what we must do to protect ourselves. An essential and entertaining guide to spotting and avoiding scams in everyday life. (Julieann Dimmick, attorney, formerly of the Office of the General Counsel, Enforcement; US Department of the Treasury)
I have had the honor of reviewing Jelita McLeod and James Munton's manuscript on con games, titled The Con; How scams work, Why you are vulnerable and How to Protect Yourself. Looking over each of the chapters of the collection of con games played on unsuspecting victims and the personalized stories, I am reminded of many of the reports I have taken on a variety of scams. As a law enforcement officer and a magician, I have lectured on flim flam to many groups over the years. Jelita and James book is an interesting collection of many of the more popular cons played out throughout the world.The sad part is, how this affects the victim. Suicides have been a part of how the victim dealt with being swindled. Some, of older age, have been confined to a nursing home as their children felt their parents could not cope in the world after being scammed and losing everything they had. I am most impressed with the Warning Signs and Tips to Protect Yourself at the end, along with a vast array of Resources a person can contact should the unthinkable occur. Overall, I recommend this to everyone as a training guide to alert them as to the seedy side of people. I recommend this book to citizens and law enforcement personnel who want to educate themselves on many of the scams that are occuring daily. Jelita and James have performed a great service by writing this book and putting it out so all can understand the mechanics of the con and how to protect yourself. As the old adage goes, if it is too good to be true, it probably is. (Glenn Hester, police officer, Glynn County, GA)
This book is a must read. Well written, informational and entertaining, it is full of interesting stories that drive home the number and variety of scams in operation, how intelligent people fall for these scams and how to protect yourself. There were scams that I had not heard of even after being in the security business for over 15 years. (Marta Zaricznyj, CEO and security consultant, Znovation, LLC)
“Real-world cons examine the logistics and psychology that enable scams to succeed” (Grand Forks Herald)
Career magician and identity theft expert Munton teams with writer McLeod to deliver this fascinating, informative, and highly entertaining primer on the various ways the uninitiated may find themselves ripped off by a con artist. Filled with personal stories (told in hindsight, of course), the cautionary tales have a common thread: it could happen to anyone―be they financially struggling college student, good Samaritan, single mom, or scientist. Munton and McLeod's featured narratives include people who have been conned by a new romantic interest or led astray by greed, curiosity, or basic inattentiveness. Rather than inducing paranoia, Munton and McLeod stress the importance of critical thinking when it comes to our money, identities, and time. For example, Munton schools readers on how to recognize a Ponzi scheme and cautions against giving out a social security number without serious consideration; in most instances, the receiving party doesn't need the social security number at all. This book will help people recognize a credible opportunity when it presents itself, and avoid those "opportunities" that don't pass muster.(Publishers Weekly 2011-08-08)
About the Author
James Munton is an expert in deception and misdirection. A successful magician, James provides entertainment, marketing and training for corporations and organizations. He has performed for Hillary Clinton, former Vice President Cheney and three times at the White House. He is an in-demand speaker on the subjects of identity theft and data breaches. He has appeared on Fox 5 News and ABC Morning News (Washington, D.C.) and in a National Geographic Television documentary special. He has been featured in articles in The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. He is a past president of the National Capital chapters of both the International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Society of American Magicians.
Jelita McLeod is an award-winning writer who has worked in marketing, advocacy and public relations for more than a decade. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, International Educator, The College Board Review and Vital Speeches of the Day. Her commentary has aired on the National Public Radio program All Things Considered. Currently a freelance writer, she has served as a full-time speechwriter and as director of external relations at the Fulbright Association. She previously worked at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., at Georgetown University, and overseas in England and Japan.
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Top Customer Reviews
Anyone who uses credit cards, an ATM card, the Internet, even the U.S. Postal system, will find something to learn in this book. I've never seen the subject handled so systematically, thoroughly, and accessibly. The individual chapters - each focusing on a different type of con or scam - each start with a real-life tale of theft and end with strategies and resources to protect yourself from this specific type of scam.
Before you spend money on credit-monitoring services, or identity theft insurance, or any other plan to have someone else protect you, make a much smaller investment in this book and learn how you can protect yourself!
But of course, this is all theory, it still takes some reinforcement on a daily basis to be able to apply the useful tips
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Having adopted crimes against humor as my own specialty, using a book like The Con (2011) by James Munton and Jelita McLeod to point out...Read more