Some people play golf on the weekends. I hunt con artists. 

But it wasn’t always that way. 

I used to think I could never get scammed. 

I’m way too smart for that. I’ve got a degree from journalism school and I read tons of newspapers and books. I know what’s going on in the world. There’s just no way a scammer could outsmart me. Right? 


Because con artists don’t outsmart you. They ‘out-feel’ you. They use your emotions to gain entry into your life so they can rob you blind. 

In 2017 I became the victim of a professional con artist. A woman named “Mair Smyth” who very quickly burrowed deep into my psyche and systematically scammed me out of almost $100,000 using a sophisticated series of confidence tricks. 

I’m a gay man. So she couldn’t use sex to ensnare me. Her lures were much more creative and sinister than that. 

I would end up falling for one of the oldest cons in the book: The Inheritance Scam. 

But this scheme wasn’t cooked up by some fictional Nigerian prince soliciting me through email. I fell under the spell of an immensely lovable woman who inserted herself into my life and became my best friend for four years. Unfortunately, she was also an international con artist on the run from the authorities in the UK while hiding out in my apartment building.

After I realized I got taken, I spent the ensuing two and a half years bringing my con artist - kicking and screaming - to justice. While uncovering 45 of her other victims all over the world who she scammed out of more than a million dollars. 

My story got tons of press

I even produced a podcast about it for iHeartRadio called “Queen of the Con: The Irish Heiress”

Soon, hundreds of victims of other con artists - inspired by my story of triumph and vindication - began contacting me through my website asking for help bringing their con artists to justice. 

So I started helping them. It’s become a hobby of mine. Kind of a pastime. 

Really… an obsession

I’m now investigating a few dozen cases circling the globe, involving some of the most despicable con women and conmen ‘working’ today. And at this point I’ve learned one thing: professional con artists are all pretty much the same. They use the same playbook. The same age-old set of scams. The same architecture of lies and manipulations. Only the names and places change. But if you know what the signs are early on, you can avoid falling into their trap. 

And if you don’t. You won’t. 

“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” That’s a line from ‘The Usual Suspects’ a 1990’s caper about an ingenious conman-thug who gets caught, and then miraculously talks his way into getting released by enthralling police with fully-formed, whimsical - but believable - stories about the ‘real’ perpetrator they should be looking for. Keyser Söze. Who of course is made up. But police get taken in by the conman’s stories and end up letting him walk free.  

Con artists are in fact everywhere. And if you don’t believe that, you’ll be their next mark. They’re living amongst us. Cleverly and convincingly masquerading themselves as a new boyfriend or girlfriend in your life. A new neighbor or coworker. A new best friend.

They look just like regular people. But they’re not. They’re the devil incarnate.

Below is a list of red flags common in every con I’m currently investigating. These were also the red flags that my con artist waved at me with reckless abandon - that I completely missed. 

Red Flag # 1 - Too kind. Too quick. 

If someone new in your life is insanely kind and giving. Always offers to pay for things. Gives you gifts. Always tries to help you for no apparent reason other than they're just really nice… you're probably being set up for con. Let’s say a complete stranger on the street asks you to drive them to the airport. You obviously would say no. But if a friend asked you, you would probably say, “Sure!” And that’s the con artist’s first mission. They need to become friends with you. Fast. So you’ll do things for them one day that you wouldn’t do for a stranger

Red Flag # 2 - Drama. Drama. Drama. 

Look, bad things happen to everyone. People get cancer. People have children who suddenly die. People have crazy family members who are out to ‘get them.’ People get drugged and raped at a bar. But all those bad things don’t happen to the same person at the same time. Unless they’re a con artist making up all this drama in their lives to manipulate and prey on your emotions. To suck you into their craziness and exploit your kindness and good nature. If there’s a new person in your life broadcasting a steady stream of soap opera-esque drama. Change the channel.

Red Flag # 3 - Legitimate day jobs. 

Most professional con artists have, or had at some point, a legitimate day job. And they use the reputation of those jobs to give them the patina of legitimacy in their scams. They’re mortgage brokers. They work in the mayor’s office. They’re investment analysts. They’re foreign exchange traders. They’re travel agents (mine was). They work for a giant cell phone company. You think, “There’s no way they’re con artists. They have amazing jobs.” And THAT’S their plan. For you to think that. And let your guard down. And believe their lies. Don’t. Their day jobs are just a cover. A side hustle. Their real job? Is conning YOU. 

Red Flag # 4 - Isolation  

For a con artist to successfully scam you, they need to be able to lure you away from people who might talk you out of going along with their con. And it’s remarkably easy to do. My con artist tricked me into believing my neighbor was a criminal on the run from authorities in Canada. So I avoided her like the plague. She then convinced my neighbor that I was mentally ill. So my neighbor avoided me. Enabling my con artist to scam us both using different stories. And we were none the wiser. Until well after the money exchanged hands. And con was played. So if someone new in your life doesn’t want you talking to this person or that person… don’t go along with it. Anyone telling you not to talk to someone - is about the biggest red flag there is. And it’s a very effective tool for a ‘working’ con artist to isolate you.   

Red Flag # 5 - Technology 

The next time someone shows you a text or an email and claims it’s from so-and-so. Be suspicious. Con artists scamming in the digital age create google voice accounts and email accounts in other people’s names to text and email themselves - so they can show you those texts and emails to get you to believe whatever story they’re laying out. My con artist tricked some of her victims into believing she was best friends with Jennifer Aniston using this technique. I’m a TV producer in Los Angeles so it’s very possible that someone in my circle is actually friends with Jennifer Aniston. My con artist cleverly made it appear that Jennifer Aniston was always texting her. And she’d show the victims those texts in a, “Look what Jen is texting me now.” kinda way. Sometimes she’d even appear to be annoyed by it. And all her victims bought it. By using this digital spoof, a working con artist can convince a victim they’re friends… with anyone and create a believable story around it. 

Red Flag # 6 - Wires 

My con artist tricked a couple real estate investors into wiring her $60,000 because her daughter needed life saving surgery after a late stage cancer diagnosis. In another case I’m working on, the victim wired her new boyfriend hundreds of thousands to help him out of a jam when a foreign government was holding his property hostage. Long story short… Never. Send. Wires. Period. If someone asks you to wire them money, there’s a good chance it’s a scam. 

Red Flag # 7 - Beak Wetting 

In a lot of investment scams and a lot of love scams, the con artist will actually give you a little money up front. They’ll let you “wet your beak.” My con artist paid me back the first $4,200 I ever loaned her - the very next day. And that gave me confidence to loan her more. And that was her plan. The very term ‘Con Artist’ is actually short for ‘Confidence Artist’ because they gain the complete and utter confidence of their victims - and then weaponize it against them. 

If I knew then what I know now, I would have never gotten scammed. I would have seen all the red flags waving briskly from a mile away and I would have crossed the street when I saw my con artist coming.

The problem was, I never really believed con artists existed. I mean, yes I knew there were tons of email scams and phone scams where people in Nigeria try to trick you into sending them money. But real people in my life who are con artists? I didn’t believe that could ever happen. But I was wrong. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

Comments: 917 • Responses: 87  • Date: 

benefit_of_mrkite910 karma

Are people in a thread about con artists really clicking on a google docs link?

TheConHunter190 karma

Well it's a picture I uploaded 'cause the mods asked for a link to a picture. What's another picture sharing alternative that's public that you recommend?

mrscoggins342 karma

Most people on Reddit tend to use Imgur

TheConHunter218 karma

Gonna sign up. Thanks


Are you aware that the picture you uploaded contains GPS coordinates of where it was taken? Imagine you don’t want the internet knowing where you possibly live or work…

TheConHunter31 karma

Changed to screen grab and uploaded to IMGUR. Thank you!

Fusion_power402 karma

Con artist story, but I was not a victim. A guy called me one day asking to purchase some plants - which I grow and sell as a small business. He offered quite a bit of business conditional that I would produce the plants using organic methods. He came to visit me a few days later and purchased 1000 tomato plants. I was being paid in cash for tomato plants which was fine for my business. I sell plants all day long to anyone who comes by with cash in hand. Also important, since I was always paid on delivery, I did not get taken to the cleaners like the people who were growing the tomatoes.

At the same time, he was advertising a business getting people to grow organic tomatoes in greenhouses which he would then market to Publix. He signed up about 250 people for one or more greenhouses with an initial investment of $9000 per greenhouse. People were tapping their life savings to get a greenhouse and some plants with a promise of up to $40,000 per year selling organic tomatoes. Do you start to see where this is going? He now had about $3 million to work with and was having hoop greenhouses installed at a cost of about $4000 each but without heaters for winter operation. He paid me for the plants to put in the greenhouses and had a crew driving around in a van putting in plants. Nice business so far, lots of tomatoes start to come in and it slips out that he does not have a contract with Publix, in fact, he doesn't even have a way to market the tomatoes. I did not know most of the other things going on as my only interaction with him was to deliver plants and collect payment. It came to a head with an expose' from a local TV station and suddenly the business collapsed.

When things went south, he headed to North Carolina and started another business raising worms in your basement and producing worm castings for sale. $5000 to get in the door and he would provide racks and trays to maintain the worms and buy the extra worms and the worm castings. As you may guess, that business collapsed pretty fast and this time he was arrested and bailed out with an ankle monitor. He cut the monitor off and headed off to Florida where he set up a business called Pockles Pickles growing organic cucumbers. The bail bondsman traced him down and showed up at the motel early one morning and arrested him and brought him home to face the music. He is currently serving 15 years. You can find this with "Jamie Lawhorne tomato con".

The point of all this? A con man rarely stops with just one con. It is one con after another after another just as fast as he can set them up.

Back story:

TheConHunter173 karma

Wow!!!! The greenhouses and tomatoes really made him seem legit. The reason being I think it makes people trust because who would lie about such a specific set of myopic things? Only CON ARTISTS!!!

PaulBlartFleshMall37 karma

You're very exclamatory when you type and I'm really enjoying it.

TheConHunter8 karma


hphammacher371 karma

What's the idea behind casually mentioning your IQ? Is that like a self absorbed thing? Or is the idea that people will buy your book or whatever because it lends you credibility? Makes you more likable?

TheConHunter141 karma

Lol. No. The idea was to hammer home the point that professional con artists don’t outsmart people. They out-feel people. They use your emotion to scam you not your intellect. Because once you start making decisions based on your heart they’ve already won.

mystiquetur265 karma

Is that you and the con artist in the photo? What was her sentence? How many people have you been able to help? I assume most people don’t get their money back but I’m hopeful that the con artists at least have to pay somehow.

TheConHunter205 karma

Yes that is me and my con artist in the photo. I'm working on a couple dozen con artist cases now. Here's one case that was reported by CBS News in West Palm Beach about a case I'm working on. I had no idea that Con Artists are everywhere. Everywhere!

ChannelingBoudica91 karma

I wish you could come work with us at Adult Protective Services in Texas. We get so many financial Exploitation cases and we just don’t have the time to give the victims all the time and attention they need and deserve. It’s getting worse every day and I’ve seen clients lose everything they have worked for on the regular.

TheConHunter181 karma

It's heartbreaking. I'm so sorry. I wish the police would take these cases seriously. Instead of arresting some guy for stealing a candy bar and a bottle of coke from 7-11, why not go after the con artist who stole 200K from an elderly widow?

OzymandiasKoK246 karma

Don't you feel like having / had a "legitimate day job" as a red flag is more than a bit silly? I would suggest that the vast majority of people had a legitimate day job at some point and this criteria is entirely meaningless, and it can't tell you whether or not someone is trying to con you.

TheConHunter164 karma

The point I was trying to make is, potential victims might say to themselves, "Well this person works for the Mayor's office. She could never be trying to scam me." That's actually one the cases I'm helping a victim with now. Here's a link to a news article about that case. My point is... don't assume because someone has a "good job" that they are NOT con artists. Most professional con artists try and get a "good job" so they can use that status to put their victims at ease.

PabstyTheClown29 karma

It's wild how active on social media that woman in Florida is. Also wild that the law probably does say that if you give someone money willingly, it's difficult to pin it down to a crime being committed. Especially crafty to make the money appear as though it was given under the pretenses of an "investment". That bit alone releases the perpetrator from any wrong doing because they could just say it was a bad investment and they lost $200,000 which happens everyday in the investing world.

TheConHunter70 karma

True. But the law is crystal clear when it comes to felony Grandtheft. Any amount over $900 that you take from someone through lies and deceit is felony Grandtheft. The trick is proving you were lied to. I had emails and text messages from my con artist proving she lied to me and I had found other victims she lied to with the same scam. In episode 8 of the podcast queen of the con we recorded the entire trial of me and other victims testifying against my con artist and her lawyer pushing her narrative that we are all just making it up.

PabstyTheClown48 karma

Man, having things in writing is such a huge deal. I am a self employed carpenter and I am overly diligent when it comes to communicating in writing via text so that if someone starts this shit, I have a paper trail. I am dealing with this right now with the daughter of one my clients and after she threatened me with libel, I basically told her to shut up because I have every discussion point with her father in writing. The lady in question is a Piece-of- Work but she has obviously had success in her life acting like that.

I am glad that someone like you is willing to get down in the gutter and try to get some of this shit cleaned up. Keep up the good work!

TheConHunter32 karma

Thank you so much I really appreciate that. And it is very smart of you to get everything in writing even if you have a phone call with someone shoot them an email afterwards thanking them for the phone call and outlining what you discussed asking for confirmation something like “am I right?” Or “ let me know if you agree”

FatalTragedy3 karma

That's a good point to make, but not in the "Red Flag" section. Most people who are not con artists have legitimate day jobs. Having a day job is not a red flag. Red flags are what we should be looking for to separate the con artists from the non con artists. When the so called Red flag applies to almost everyone, con artist or not, it is not a Red flag.

TheConHunter13 karma

I see what you’re saying but I do think that victims will be more trusting of a con artist who has a good reputable job. So the point I’m trying to make is don’t let someone’s good reputable job dissuade you from thinking you’re getting conned. Because con artists with good reputable jobs are conning people left and right in the light of day using the legitimacy of their jobs as cover.

scrodytheroadie160 karma

she was also an international con artist on the run from the authorities hiding out in my apartment building.

Why were the authorities hanging out in your apartment building?

TheConHunter91 karma

Point taken. Gonna fix that line. Thanks.

scrodytheroadie54 karma

Haha, I was just messing around. I knew what you meant.

TheConHunter59 karma

I know lol but you were right. That was bad sentence structure.

Colosso95121 karma

From your post and your other comments I see you are painting a clear distinction between normal "scammers" and "con artists", in the sense that con artists are scammers but not all scammers are con artists.
Is this true? Would you say that con artists are not just trying to make a living out of this but are actually enjoying the feeling of controlling other people?

TheConHunter211 karma

Oh absolutely. con artists get off on manipulating people and getting them to do what they want. It’s more than just money to them. It’s a lifestyle. It’s an activity they engage in that brings them tremendous joy and satisfaction. Until I got conned by a professional con artist I didn’t believe those people existed. Much less that I could be friends with one for years and not even realize it. And now because I’ve gone public with my story I was contacted by so many other victims of so many other con artists that are scamming people in the light of day and taking full advantage of the fact that most victims never go public with their story much less report their con artist to police because they’re ashamed and embarrassed. My con artist actually had dinner parties where she invited five or six different people she was scamming including myself and we socialized with each other and at any moment we could’ve volunteered something that didn’t gel because she was scamming us all using different stories but we never did. But I think my con artist enjoyed that razor thin margin of “am I going to get caught now?” I bet it was exciting for her. I bet it was a thrill for her. Especially at the end of the night when she realized she got away with it again.

sumner929119 karma

How did you two meet and how you become such close "friends"?

TheConHunter189 karma

Here's the most concise and easy to understand explanation

sumner929108 karma

Wow! Crazy story but thank you for sharing it. 5 years seems like a slap on the wrist though. What's to stop her from scamming anyone when she gets out?

TheConHunter134 karma

Publicity! It's kryptonite to con artists.

cmccormick45 karma

And renaming can be an easy way to escape (works for companies too).

TheConHunter139 karma

Very true. My con artist is also a master of disguise these five images are all her but they look like completely different women

scrotum_52 karma

That’s absolutely terrifying. She’s literally an emotional and physical chameleon.

TheConHunter39 karma

SHE IS! And there are thousands like her. Scamming in the plain light of day.

mahade41 karma

So, do you believe that once she did her time behind bars, all is forgiven and she should be given another chance? Or are you going to make sure she's not going back to her old habits?

If you don't answer I'm taking that as an "I'm watching her the second she gets out".

TheConHunter62 karma


hardtofindagoodname72 karma

Oof. That is some story. I think the most incredulous thing to suspecting someone to be a scammer is believing anyone would put so much time and effort into it. If they had invested the same energy for something good, they would have probably yielded just as much money.

Good on you for following this up.

TheConHunter25 karma

Thank you!

LaughingLondoner114 karma

Well done for bringing yours to justice and helping others.

Do you have any thoughts about why some people become confidence artists?

From those who have experienced con artists in a relationship situation, I’m sure this often intolerably bounds about their minds.

TheConHunter148 karma

Yes. In episode 10 of my "Queen of the Con: The Irish Heiress" podcast we analyze this. Con Artists, like most psychopaths - are born. In episode 5 we talk to another victim of my con artist who she scammed when they both were 11-12 years old! My con artist was scamming people at 11-12 years old!!! Con artists are born. And they learn as the grow to act like "regular people"

EJDsfRichmond41546 karma

What was the scam at that age?

TheConHunter192 karma

It's weird. At 11-12 years old my con artist tricked another girl in her neighborhood to go into a stranger's house, by convincing her that it was her house; it was not. Then the 11-12 year old con artist tricked her into going into a bedroom in that house, putting on a sweater that was hanging on the door and taking a polaroid picture of herself in the sweater. She said it was her sister's room and sweater. It was not. This is just an adolescent con artist flexing her muscle of manipulation.

reddit_beer_map5 karma

Reminds me of the NXIUM founder. Great HBO doc about it. He was scamming girls by the time he was in middle school - he discovered he had the ability and charisma to have multiple girls on the hook at a time and would lie to them all. They would literally be calling his house one after another every night. And this guy immediately knew that he somehow had great power over other people and spent his entire life practicing and perfecting it. Crazy.

TheConHunter5 karma

You hit the nail on the head. YES. I saw that doc. He's a born con artist too. And what differentiates someone with a gift of "influence" is... a regular (good) person endowed with that gift never thinks to "use it" to scam, rape or otherwise manipulate people for their own gain at the expense of others.

BloopityBlue100 karma

My across the street neighbor has a con artist living in her house right now. She is 68 years old, he is 59 years old. All of us, her friends, can see him for what he is, but she has somehow gotten sucked into the idea that he's a helpless man baby who she is rescuing. I don't really know the full extent of what is going on over there, but from what I can see he is living in her house rent free causing all kinds of drama with her friends so we are all avoiding her house entirely because of him. Do you have any advice that I can use to maybe help her see that if she's not in trouble now, trouble is right around the corner? At best he is a hobo-sexual using her for a free place to live, at worst he is using her for so much more that she won't tell us about.

TheConHunter112 karma

Run some background checks on him if you have his legal name to pull up any criminal records he has and his old address. Go to those places and talk to neighbors. They know him. Also check the court system both civil and criminal in the county he is living in and then any county you know that he used to live in. At that age he's gotta gave a rap sheet.

merijn283 karma

Have you heard of, and if so what is your opinion, on Rian van Rijbroek? (what I am now about to type is a bit from memory, so things may be a bit off) She is a woman the Dutch public got to know when a couple of years ago she was in a news show as a supposed expert on cyber security, claiming to have worked for several secret services. However, people who knew anything about cybersecurity saw that everything she said was bullshit (one term she used, "smart blockchain", became a bit of a meme here in The Netherlands) . It turned out she was invited because she had written a book with a former minister of Finance of The Netherlands. Everybody had a bit of a laugh about this, but later it turned out she has a history of getting involved with business leaders, convincing that a lot of people in the specific company they own or manage are dodgy, which she says she knows because of her connections with secret services, and then making a lot of money. Especially troubling is that her latest mark is the owner of a company that is responsible for the software for a lot of government agencies here in the Netherlands, and she has already managed to get rid of a lot of people in the management because she has convinced the owner they were out to get them.

EDIT Here is a video about it, which has English subtitles:

TheConHunter10 karma

It's INSANE how far these lying, cheating scammers can get. What's the latest on her? Are there journalists exposing her?

justagirl123148 karma

Were you just at the wrong place wrong time in your building for that pool meeting and she made you her mark after scoping everyone else out or did she target you in some way? Or try to "groom" several neighbors and it just worked best with you?
Thanks for doing this. super interesting story and you're helping a lot of people by speaking out and doing the work you do.

TheConHunter90 karma

Oh she scammed other neighbors as well. We interviewed them for thepodcast I have since learned that con artists don’t really target anyone specifically they target everyone. It’s nothing personal. They will con whoever is around them and whoever gives them the slightest entry. Con artists are a lot like vampires they have to be invited in to exert their power.

superthrowguy39 karma

Have you considered pitching to Netflix or something as a real life based drama? Seeing con artists actually go down would be really cathartic.

TheConHunter18 karma

Great idea!

EvilKittyBoy28 karma

Coming from South America, what you are saying is common sense that is taught to kids; and it goes beyond that, due to the high crime.

Even when a lot of us may seem friendly, at least from my area, we are among the most paranoid people there are (honestly that may cause a lot of trust issues but that's beyond the point).

I can't imagine a con trick working on an average person, key being average, at least from the area, in fact, I never heard of successful con artist in the area I was from; even if you somehow managed to trick someone, other people will prey on you, and I mean it; people would get incredibly vicious if you were taking advantage of their friend/family member.

What this however meant, is that these people would often rely into more violent crimes, these so be con-artists that couldn't thrive as such. Or otherwise you go trick foreigners.

What are your toughs on this?... Because I'd guess this is what a "society that is resilient to con artists" is like, in fact, it seems that as a society becomes more and more resilient to scams and tricks, violence increases as a result since violence always works, it isn't a trick (this is my subjective experience of course).

TheConHunter18 karma

I see what you’re saying and agree to a certain extent. But a professional con artist gets into your life and becomes your friend or your lover and cons you before you even realize it. The woman who conned me was my best friend for four years meanwhile she was scamming dozens of other people across the world and I had no idea

EvilKittyBoy7 karma

I was more curious about what your thoughts are about the complexity and relationship of crime and society. I know what you mean about professional cons, but believe me when I tell you even if you were the best con artist you wouldn't do well in such a society like the one I lived.

I never said that con artists were't a thing just that they seem to be more of a western thing than anything. I don't know how to explain it other than the environment is simply toxic, there can't be a confidence scam, if people don't even trust their own shadow, and even if you pull it off, you will be hunted down; and I don't mean by police, but by gangs, why?... because you are a threat.

And then extrapolating what I've seen of what a society that seems educated on the matter is like, probably due to the sheer trauma of violent crime; how the paranoia rises; doesn't that make you wonder, what is it like in the other end?...

I mean after all, you are hunting cons, hunting other people, just like con artists do; this is the exact way I refer to the generation of this environment, it's a paranoia filled environment, and then imagine there are more like you, what would happen to "smart crime"?... it all devolves into violence, because violence always works; when these cons go to jail, maybe they just decide, to use violence next time, because it tends to be more effective.

Gang and cartel members, some of them, not all, can be, incredibly smart, incredibly sociable and likable people, here are your con artists resorting to violence, fighting the war on drugs, on the other side.

I am not saying what you are doing is wrong at all, I think is a service to society; but it just makes me wonder, of the implications; just based on my subjective experience. Like rehab and reintegration is what is required in a way. Like, what is it like in the shoes of the con-artist?...

Crime is just painfully complex I guess, specially for my puny brain, hah...

Sorry just your story intrigued me :D

TheConHunter14 karma

And your story intrigues me. I think if a society has devolved to the point where there is no trust eventually it will be its own demise. There have been tons of studies that prove groups of people who trust each other do far better far quicker and go much further (During certain experiments designed to gauge their intelligence and productivity) than groups of people who are suspicious of each other. Society cannot function without trust. When there’s a knock on the door from a UPS driver you have to trust it’s a UPS driver to get your package or you’d never open the door. Without basic trust society grinds to a halt. And that’s what a con artist uses to scam people. I know in South America particularly Argentina things are really bad crime wise and that can sap society of any trust at all. I get that. And yes me hunting con artists is similar to con artist hunting their prey but I cannot change what happened to me and I cannot change the person that harrowing experience turned me into. I do get an incredible and profound sense of purpose by using what I’ve learned the hard way to prevent people from getting scammed and I do it all the time I hear from people all the time that reading my story enabled them to spot the con artist in their own life and avoid them

EvilKittyBoy8 karma

Yeah I think it's a good thing in a way :) and you are right on the combo.

Also Argentina is one of the better ones crime wise; compared to Brazil, Venezuela, El Salvador, Honduras; things aren't particularly great, there were a couple of reasons I left my country, one of them was crime.

Some areas are no-go zones, that's where I come from. Con artists, just, don't thrive here; it's like, people have grown so smart, there's only one form of crime left, violence. It's sad, a never-ending cycle. :( and the paranoia.

Anyway have a good night.

TheConHunter3 karma

You too.

IoSonCalaf21 karma

Im sorry you went through all this and I have a huge amount of admiration for you for to bring all this to light. And I hate to say it, but this whole story is extremely fascinating. I read on your website that you subscribe to background check databases. Can you recommend any good ones?

TheConHunter38 karma

I use BeenVerified, Intelius and PeopleFinders. They all reveal different things. Also check the courthouse in the county of the person you think might be a con. Google "county clerk" of that county and click "criminal records check" and "civil records check" most will be free and very cheap and can reveal A LOT.

Charliesmum9716 karma

Very un-serious question, but have you ever watched Leverage and would you enjoy seeing a fictionalised version of you on the show?

TheConHunter34 karma

Gonna check out Leverage thanks. What happened to me is so unbelievable. But it's all true. And it's not just my. My con artist scammed 45 others out of a million dollars. We interview 20 plus of them in the podcast. She impersonated a psychologist, faked cancer, impersonated Jennifer Aniston, used her own adolescent daughter as bait to scam people. We interviewed the daughter in the podcast. It's insane.

Bella-14 karma

When was your IQ tested? Which assessment was used?

TheConHunter23 karma

Years ago as part of a college class. I might very well be stupider now but I don’t think so. I guess the whole point I was trying to make is I had a con artist in my life for four years who scammed me (while she scammed dozens of others out of $1 million) and I had no idea they were who they were until it was too late so I’m trying to warn others by laying out the signs. I’m not a dumb person and I got scammed out of close to $100,000 and had to file for bankruptcy. The whole point of mentioning my IQ is to prove the fact that con artist don’t outsmart you they out-feel you by using your emotions to scam you and not your intellect.

legthief14 karma

How much faith do you have in Willow Ufgood's chances of safely delivering the baby Elora Danan to the enchantress Fin Raziel?

TheConHunter10 karma

I’m optimistic.

blindedbyhindsight12 karma


TheConHunter24 karma

It’s funny you mention law-enforcement. When I went to police initially about getting conned they turned me away. They refused to take a police report. They told me it was not a crime because I gave her the money willingly. But the low level cop who talked to me that day was wrong. And I was eventually able to convince him to take a police report and he eventually rallied to my cause and gave me advice on how to navigate the system. But I did my own investigation and turned over every victim I found of my con artist to police and eventually to the district attorney who prosecuted and put my con artist in jail. The only experience I have is spending 2 1/2 years investigating my own con artist and successfully convicting her of scamming me.

IamAWorldChampionAMA11 karma

I have a new neighbor. They are expecting soon and I told them I would bring them a meal once the baby is born. Does that count as #1 for scamming them?

Am I a scammer and just don't know it????

TheConHunter10 karma

Nope. One kind act does not a con artist make.

King_Shami11 karma

Any experience with the WhatsApp crypto scams?

TheConHunter21 karma

No I'm sorry. In this day and age there are so many ways for crooks to scam people. Be careful.

brothermuffin9 karma

Could you do bezos/musk/et al next?

TheConHunter5 karma


Lavishness-Economy7 karma

How do you avoid becoming paranoid when making new friends, or when a real friend needs a real favour?

TheConHunter13 karma

I'm fortunate to be surrounded by some really great people in my life. But I am very suspicious of new people and I background check and cross-reference everyone all the time. I know I am paranoid. But at this point, with what's happened to me, I don't know any other way to be

kry12127 karma

When this becomes a film are you already assuming you’ll be played by Vincent D'Onofrio?

Because he’s gonna nail it.

TheConHunter3 karma

LOL. Have not thought that far ahead.

huqle6 karma

Hold up... Is this a con???

TheConHunter5 karma

For it to be a con I would be taking something from you. Which I am not. I’m just pointing out what the red flags are that a con artist might’ve infiltrated your social circle.

billbixbyakahulk15 karma

Plenty of scams and cons start out as "no risk/cost to you".

TheConHunter6 karma

But I am not asking for anything I’m just giving advice take it or leave it completely up to you

UserIsOptional5 karma

How do you go about hunting a con-artist?

TheConHunter9 karma

It's different in every case but the gist of hunting any con artist is to figure out their real identity find out if they have a criminal record a lot of them do and to galvanize their victims to stand up and go to police and help their victims organize all of their evidence and sworn statements and build a compelling case that Police cannot ignore. There's also the next level of getting news coverage about the particular con artist that motivates the police and causes a public outcry for something to be done. The problem I keep running into you again and again is that most victims don't want to go public with their story and if a victim doesn't wanna go to police and press charges then there's nothing anyone can do in our legal system.

deadowl5 karma

Have you ever played the game Among Us?

TheConHunter7 karma

I have not. Just googled. Seems fascinating.

genman5 karma

Although you're talking more about "long game" type confidence artists, there's plenty of scammers that operate on shorter time frames, especially out of places like India or Nigeria.

But they do raise the same flags as you list.

Flag #1 - Scammers often pose as "giving you a refund" which is hundreds of dollars for "free"

Flag #2 - They often say if they aren't payed they will lose their job or they have children to feed

Flag #3 - They pretend to be working for Microsoft (or another large corporation)

Flag #4 - When they tell you to wire money or buy gift cards, they tell you not to reveal that you're paying Microsoft or whomever. Or if you go to the bank, not to tell anybody why you're sending the money. Usually they try to shame victims ("you made a mistake") so they won't admit to strangers why they are buying gift cards or sending money.

Flag #5 - They solicit calls via email, phone calls. They edit the HTML of your bank transactions to make it look like they sent you "too much money" which you need to repay. They exploit remote access tools to gain access to your personal information.

Flag #6 - They ask you to wire money to foreign bank accounts in Thailand. Or money mules in the US.

Flag #7 - "Refund" scams are really a form of beak wetting.

If they can't convince a victim of something, often with remote access software they can take over a victim's PC or phone and buy gift cards when the victim is not watching.

Do you cover these sorts of scam artists? I think "small money" overseas scams are much more prevalent than these sort of long-term con artists. Frustratingly they are much more numerous and difficult to combat.

TheConHunter6 karma

Yeah these scams are everywhere. EVERYWHERE. It is a different genre of con. These are the types of cons I was and am always expecting. At the end of the day NEVER click a link in any email or text even it they say they're calling from your bank. Never answer calls from weird numbers, if it's a legit call they'll leave a message. But those robo con calls never leave a message.

anonymous_4_custody4 karma

ok, be honest, how much do you love

  1. Continually letting the world know Mair Smyth is a con artist
  2. Publishing, advertising, and otherwise monetizing your experience (getting paid for #1!!!)
  3. Actually helping people to bring their con artists to justice

Do you think that Mair Smyth taught you a little bit about hustling to make money, based on your story? I feel like being conned would teach you a lot about how to avoid being conned, but maybe also, the value of using the power of emotional tools for good, after having experienced them being used for evil.

TheConHunter2 karma

I initially hated Mair Smyth for what she did to me. But four years later I am grateful to her. I am grateful I was scammed. Because it revealed in me a person I didn't know existed. A person I never believed I could become… I've become. And I like that person. I'm impressed by that person. And I'm able to use what I have learned to help people. It fills me with the most powerful and profound sense of purpose that I've ever known . I'm helping a widow now whose husband died and a con artist swooped in and convinced her all her friends and family were out to take the million dollars her husband left for her so the con artist managed to isolate this victim from everyone she knows and loves and then scammed her out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. That victim came across my story in the Huffington post and it immediately it clicked in her brain that she was getting conned because the things my con artist did to me, her a con artist was doing to her and she realized that after reading my huff post article and emailed me for help. She didn't wanna go to Police but I insisted and with me on speakerphone I walked her into the police station from 2000 miles away and helped her file a report and help her organize her evidence her bank records her text messages or emails that proved that she was conned and I'm helping her rebuild the relationships that she suffered because of her con artist. How do you have not come across my story in the Huffington post that day she would still be under the spell of her con artist and she would be flat broke. I feel like I got scammed because I meant to learn from it and help people and that is what I am doing.

RosaKat3 karma

I was hooked on your podcast. It was so brilliantly written and I admire your commitment and diligence on having this woman brought to justice. I live in Northern Ireland and I’m so interested to know whether the extradition ever took place? Do you know where Mair is now?

TheConHunter3 karma

Thank you so much! It's in the works. Stay tuned.

Yeltsin863 karma

I know a dear friend who's almost certainly being scammed by a con artist/catfisher with an online relationship, for more than a decade.

Any experience convincing people that someone who they've grown to trust and love is, in fact, just a POS scammer? This guy is especially brazen, but also subtle in many ways. But evidence has been found by me and other friends.

TheConHunter5 karma

If you can find out what his legal name is run a background check he probably has a criminal record and also check the civil courts perhaps people have sued him for scamming them. And then show your friend the evidence. The challenge is, love is the most powerful thing there is in the world and if your friend loves that man they will turn a blind eye to many things in the name of love.

imMadasaHatter3 karma

I appreciate the work you do.

My mother got caught up in an online romance scam over 2 years and hid it from the rest of the family until she had lost nearly 200,000 and the scammer finally cut ties with her. Reading your story was partially cathartic for me.

Do you have any advice for loved ones of people getting scammed and how to spot and stop it from happening? Like you said the scammer does their best to alienate or convince them to hide the relationship, so it is quite difficult and frustrating for those close to the victim knowing they could have easily helped if they just knew something about what was going on.

TheConHunter3 karma

I think if you can find any criminal records or civil court records of the scammer and print them out and show them to the victim you're trying to convince is helpful.

cytomitchel3 karma

With your knowledge, do you ever deploy it as a white-hat Con Man to test people or elderly? See I'd they succumb?

TheConHunter8 karma

I don't think I can con people. Even as a test. I was never a good salesman. In college I worked for a telemarketing company for a short time. I didn't have what it took to talk people into things. Some do. I don't.

Robot0verlord1 karma

Would you consider making a podcast about your stories?

TheConHunter6 karma

I did. It’s called Queen of the Con: call of the Irish Heiress Queen of the Con

Historical_Golf-1 karma

Do you believe NFTs are cons?

TheConHunter4 karma

I don’t know. But they freak me out.