Scammers, Con Artists, and Impostors
The Psychology of Manipulation
They do it for attention, fame, and money, to be loved, or to enhance their prestige, and it’s always to the disadvantage of the public. Swindlers, imposters, and con artists use their imagination and power of persuasion, and spend enormous energy to make others believe what they themselves would all too gladly accept as true. Although they have actually suffered no harm, they portray themselves as victims to garner attention and sympathy; they use deceit to inflate their importance and acquire status, money, and power. Losers turn themselves into successful leaders of major corporations, socialites, miracle healers, or hospital physicians.
Lydia Benecke’s exciting case histories describe the most outrageous con artists, the phony victim stories, purported miracle healers, and cult leaders. She explains the underlying psychological mechanisms, and the ways narcissists and psychopaths manipulate us to fraudulently attract attention, gain power and money, and cold-bloodedly assert interests of their very own.
Among other topics, the book discusses the stories of:
- Tania Head, former president of the World Trade Center Survivors' Network, who claimed to have survived 9/11 and to have lost her fiancé in the event
-Frédéric Bourdin, who for years used a range of identities to falsely claim he was an adolescent, eventually even convincing a family for several months that he was their (significantly younger) boy who had gone missing
-Desiree Jennings, who faked neurological damage from a vaccination in order to become famous
The most exciting cases from past and present and their underlying psychology