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Postby ryguy » Wed Oct 24, 2007 5:16 pm

Here is some terminology every Ufology researcher should be aware of. From a University level class on white collar crime. I've highlighted the most relevant and important for Ufologists to be aware of any time new "releases" are published from "insiders".


Con-Artist Glossary of terms:

Ace - having "the ace" means authorities have been bribed to keep away
Angle (or Opening or Pitch) - the approach when first contacting the victim
Beef - when a victims complains after losing their money
Big Store - any con game requiring a fake "front" or office
Blowoff - the last move in a con game
Booster - a shill for a con game pretending to be skeptical
Boiler Room (or Bucket Shop) - a "front" made to look like a stock trade room or a telemarketing setup
Build Up - part of the con game which builds trust with the victim
Button - part of a con game in which phony police make a bust
Cannon - a pickpocket
Cardsharp - a cheater who works for the house, always raising the pot
Come On - part of the con game which entices victims to in
Convincer - part of the con game in which the victim wins money
Cool - any method to appease a victim's anger over losing money
Depot Worker - a con man working the bus, train, or plane station
Easy Mark - the ideal victim of a con game; likes to take chances
Finesse (or Shift) - to make the victim look at something else; to distract attention
Fish (or Greenhorn) - the ideal victim of a con game; new in town
Fixer - one who sets up immunity for criminals
Gold Brick - any old, archaic con game
Green Goods - exchanging real money for near-perfect counterfeit money
Grifter (or Hustler) - any con man
Gypsy scam -- any con involving fees for lifting a curse on a victim
Hanging Paper - any con game involving checks, money orders, etc.
Hawk (or Prime) - to sell a victim on the idea of participating in a con game
Heat - police or legal suspicion about the con game
Heel - sneak thieves who break into victim's home or hotel room
Hurrah - point in con game in which victim is trapped; has to go on
Hush Money - money paid by duped victim in blackmail after the con game
Inside Man - a con man to whom ropers bring a victim
Lookout - one who keeps an eye on all the players in a con game
Lugger - a lookout who keeps an eye on things outside the big store
Make - when a victim recognizes they're being conned
Mark - the victim of a con game
Nut (or Touch) - the amount of money taken in a con game
Parlay - to promote a victim into a larger, more elaborate con game
Point Out - part of a con game in which the victim is introduced to Mr. Big
Queer the deal - anything which frightens off a victim
Red Inking - when a con man threatens or tries to frighten off a victim in order to commit them to greater participation
Roper (or Capper or Steerer) - a shill in a con game pretending to make money
Salt a Mine - to use real money or small items of real value in a con game
Score (or Sting) - successful completion of a con game
Selling Stiffs - any con game involving dead persons
Send - when the victim is sent home to Mama to get more money
Shill (or Plant) - one who lures a victim to a con game by acting like another customer
Squeeze - any con game involving a prize wheel or games of chance
Stall - point in a con game where the victim is temporarily prevented from participating in order to increase desire to participate
Switch -- point in a con game in which the victim is told how the scam operated so to make them think it was his or her idea all along
Tear Up - point in a con game where the victim's check is torn up in front of them to deflect suspicion and build trust
Wire - any operation pretending to have advance or inside information
"Only a fool of a scientist would dismiss the evidence and reports in front of him and substitute his own beliefs in their place." - Paul Kurtz

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Postby ryguy » Wed Oct 24, 2007 5:27 pm

Annie's Scam - Hard lessons learned from the world of fraud

by Lisa Margonelli, special to SF Gate
Wednesday, February 5, 2003


Annie McGuire spends a lot of time inside her Long Beach apartment, answering e-mails from people who think they may have been conned. Annie's anti-scam Web site,, is the main thing in her life -- along with a screeching cockatiel, a bunny and her husband, who's had several strokes. "This is my calling," she says of the letters she gets from people who've fallen for those sweetheart deals, Nigerian-letter schemes and improbably high-yield investments. Another person might call these people fools, but not Annie. "I make no judgments," she says.

Annie, who is in her 50s, has a honeyed voice and a razor-sharp instinct for the right word. You quickly get the feeling that she's always a been a bit smarter than the other people in the room -- more well read, more adept at puzzles and problems, faster off the mark. Her photograph shows an attractive, conservatively dressed woman whose mouth is pursed just slightly, as though she's carefully examining a grocery receipt for errors. Nobody's fool.

Except that she was. Annie's intimate knowledge of fraud and con games came at a high price. Seven years ago, she fell victim to a con artist who she says tricked her into becoming an unsuspecting middleman, fleecing her contacts out of nearly a million dollars. She fell into a complicated scheme where investors put up money with the expectation that it will yield extremely high returns within six weeks. It was, of course, too good to be true, and she says the FBI has devoted years to investigating the case.

In movies, con men (and women) are romantic figures. They're Paul Newman and Robert Redford in "The Sting" or Leonardo DiCaprio in "Catch Me if You Can." In real life, they're less good looking and a lot more common than you'd think -- one study found that one-third of American families had a member who was the victim of a white-collar crime. Far rarer are the people who admit to being victims, however: The same study revealed that only 7 percent of con victims report the crime to authorities.

Bunco crimes rise during bad economic times, says Greg Ovanessian, a fraud inspector with the San Francisco Police Department. Recently, a pair of con artists fleeced eight elderly people out of more than $100,000 in a month before skipping town. Elderly victims often lose more than just the money -- many of the victims Ovanessian sees ask him not to tell their children about their foolishness. "They're embarrassed," he says. "They're worried their kids will try to put them in a nursing home." Con artists are good at playing on the weaknesses of the gullible and the good hearted, but it's the greedy person within each of us that they can make their fortunes from.

Until recently, Annie didn't know what it was like to need money. She grew up well off. As an adult, she ran a printing business and then an advertising company, and her husband was a pilot. But she always had a cushion of family money to fall back on. When she was in her late 40s, the McGuires decided to retire with a nice nest egg in a conservative retirement fund. They were not wealthy, but they were comfortable. "But it wasn't enough," Annie says. "My husband was a Depression baby. He had a major want list: cars, a plane, a yacht. Horses! It was completely out of the question."

Annie wasn't into the toys she could buy with money; what she loved was the game of getting money. "Gaining money itself wasn't for me," she says. "Power was my big thing. People mattered to me." After she retired, she had plenty of time on her hands, so Annie set about trying to make money, and connections, by trading various commodities -- cigarettes, sugar, crude oil, frozen chicken, scrapped tankers -- in a sort of underground network of middlemen. Annie loved being the middlewoman, the center of attention, the fixer, the connection, the sun around which these constellations of deals orbited.

None of her deals made money -- most of them fell through -- but at least they were legal. Annie ran up phone bills as high as $1,500 a month in the process. And, in one very bad deal, she lost her $100,000 nest egg. Annie was devastated, but she figured she'd make up all the money she'd lost on the next deal, when she got an in on something she could really profit from.

Then along came a man known as "the Trader." Annie says the Trader told her he was a member of an international trust that made short-term, high-yield loans. At first, Annie worked hard to impress the Trader. She had grown up reading adventure stories and loved the intrigue, the foreign connections. Within days she had succeeded in delighting him with her intelligence, her business savvy and her well-heeled connections.

The trader quickly initiated her into the "secret, high-powered" world of international finance and later gave her limited power of attorney over his accounts. He put her in touch with people who seemed to work for important foreign banks. "I was tired of years of disappointing trades," Annie says. "I was frantic because I'd lost so much money." For an outgoing person, the strain of keeping the deals a secret, of holding so much responsibility, became isolating. She felt alone and increasingly terrified. She says the Trader looked like a white knight come to save her.

Looking back now, Annie says it was obvious she was dealing with a crook. But the crook, like any professional con artist, set about knowing Annie well. He got her to talk more about herself than he spoke of his own life. "They mirror your passions and dislikes," she said. "They build up the mark's profile and, at the same time, they keep you off balance." It was as though the Trader was standing in front of Annie, cutting a key to fit into her lock, his approach was so perfectly honed to her inner desires. That is, after all, why they're called confidence men.

Annie saw the Trader's scheme as a way to help other people, to get the kind of beneficent power she dreamed of, while helping her husband buy the horses or the plane. Worse, she decided to help other people make money, too. "I saw myself as some kind of hero," she says. "They were going to benefit from my deal." She thought she was turning her contacts on to financial security, and even luxury, for life, so she got them to give her huge amounts of money -- a total of a million dollars. From the Trader, she received notice of commissions, which she thought would replace her nest egg. She gave her investors receipts, and she got receipts from bank accounts in the Bahamas. The Trader said the money would turn around in six weeks.

It didn't, of course. There were excuses -- and then the Trader began to threaten Annie when she complained. He showed her an ID card that identified him as an employee of the CIA. "Once you're in, you can't afford not to continue," Annie says. "You would have to admit too many things." In their last phone call, she says, the Trader told her a foreign government might jail the investors, and he himself was sick from the stress. After that, she couldn't reach him. It became clear that the money was gone, and with that came the sickening realization that she'd been scammed. She called the FBI.

In the aftermath -- as she discovered that all the documents she'd been given were forged, all the phone numbers misleading, all the pretexts false, all the money gone forever and no fortune just over the horizon -- Annie had to come to a bigger realization about herself. She had been neither intelligent nor a hero. "I had wanted to give my contacts this financial structure to support them, but I hadn't even left them with sand," she says. Her voice breaks as she talks about her shame. "It's not recoupable," she adds. "There's a loss of faith, an emotional misery caused to other people. Time can't fix it."

Since then, her life has changed. For years she imagined that she'd wake up from a nightmare and find that everything was back to normal, but of course that didn't happen. Annie had lost the nest egg, and for the first time in her life, she had to think about money in terms of her own survival. Her husband became ill and had several strokes and a heart attack, and she became his caretaker. The only constant in their lives is that they got to keep their old, large apartment -- they've lived there so long, the rent is cheap.

Annie withdrew from her friends, no longer the center of any constellation. The grief would catch her at odd moments; sometimes, she'd be at the grocery store, and she'd feel her face screw up and she'd break out in tears. "I think I've got a pervading depression," she says.

Annie says her Web site is a way of giving back what she can't replace. She spends time building its "backstage tours" of typical con-artist techniques, a glossary of scam terms, "panic buttons" and links. She says she gets about 20 letters a week from fraud victims: "Most of the time, I just pick 'em up, pat 'em on the po-po and send them on their way." Annie adds that she helps victims figure out where to report the scam -- whether to the local bunco squad, the FBI or the Secret Service. She has published a list of tips so victims can write up a "narrative" for police. (In some cases, she says, she charges for her services, and she occasionally brings in a friend who's an investigator.)

"If you look at the frauds that are perpetrated with a cold eye, it's so obvious that they were dealing with a crook," Annie says. But she always listens to the victims, giving them a sympathetic ear. And when the letters get too sad, or the urge to shake someone and say "Stop being so stupid" overtakes her, she leaves her computer and does logic problems, cryptograms and puzzles as a way of escaping for a little while.

Gone is the confidence Annie once had. "You get to the point where you're wary of everyone," she says. There's something about the con game that taints everything, making anybody a potential con. Post-con, the world seems mostly lonely and full of the wrong kind of intrigue.

Annie looks back at her horrible adventure and thinks she was undone not so much by her greed for money as by her greed for power. She says she's given up on that. But there is the Web site, after all, where she is the middlewoman once again -- to be there for people in need, and maybe even to rescue them from con artists and from themselves.

"The Web site is as close as I want to get to a power trip these days," Annie says with a laugh. "I'm proud of having the perspicacity to use the power wisely."
"Only a fool of a scientist would dismiss the evidence and reports in front of him and substitute his own beliefs in their place." - Paul Kurtz

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Postby Access Denied » Fri Oct 26, 2007 5:30 am

Sage (and timely) advice Ry.

Allow me to add the mantra "Trust but verify" (which as a result inevitably becomes "Trust no one" lol) and the following helpful definition...


In psychology, mythomania (also known as pseudologia fantastica or pathological lying) is a condition involving compulsive lying by a person with no obvious motivation. The affected person might believe their lies to be truth, and may have to create elaborate myths to reconcile them with other facts. Among famous mythomaniacs in history was King Frederik VII of Denmark and Sir Douglas Conway of Suffolk.

A pathological liar is someone who often embellishes his or her stories in a way that he or she believes will impress people. It may be that a pathological liar is different from a normal liar in that a pathological liar believes the lie he or she is telling to be true—at least in public—and is "playing" the role. He or she sometimes is seen to have a serious mental problem that needs to be rectified.

It is not clear, however, that this is the case. It could also be that pathological liars know precisely what they are doing. Confused hashes of history and wishes are called confabulation. "Pathological liar" is a synonym for symptoms.

Even though pathological lying is not recognized as a clinical disorder, legal court cases often require that the plaintiff prove that the defendant is aware that he or she is lying. This proof is most important in cases of slander and/or liability.

Pathological liars often actually convince themselves that they are telling the truth, which in turn can alter polygraph tests and other questioning. Some have observed that when caught in a lie, pathological liars tend to become hostile or try to disregard the fact they lied; often playing it off as a joke.

A compulsive liar will resort to telling lies, regardless of the situation. Again, everyone lies from time to time, but for a compulsive liar telling lies is routine - it becomes a habit and a way of life.

Simply put, for a compulsive liar, lying becomes second nature.

Not only do compulsive liars bend the truth about issues large and small, but they take comfort in it. Lying feels right to a compulsive liar. Telling the truth, on the other hand, is difficult and uncomfortable for a compulsive liar.

And like any other behavior which provides comfort and an escape from discomfort (i.e., alcohol, drugs, sex), lying can become very addictive and hard to stop. For the compulsive liar, lying feels safe and this fuels the desire to lie even more.

And like most addictive behaviors, compulsive lying is hard for the person involved to see, but it hurts those who are around it. Compulsive lying, if not stopped, can destroy relationships (for example, see why does he need to lie).

Fortunately, compulsive lying can be dealt with through counseling or therapy. But, like many other addictive behaviors, getting someone to admit they have a problem with lying is the difficult part. Sadly enough, getting someone to recognize that he or she has a problem usually requires hitting rock bottom first.

Be careful out there! 8)
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