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Con artists – sociopaths - Narcissists

Martie Coetser is a freelance writer from South Africa. She has a keen interest in a variety of topics.

debspoons @

debspoons @

Definitions of a con artist:

  • A swindler who exploits the confidence of his victim;
  • A person who defrauds or swindles others after first gaining their trust;
  • A person adept at lying, cajolery, or glib self-serving talk.

According to the Free Dictionary the synonyms for ‘con artist’ are chiseller, defrauder, grifter, scammer, swindler, and gouger.

africa @

africa @


  • All people are able to be a con-artist to some extend in certain circumstances. Personality analyzers in fact claim that one out of three persons has the personality of a con-artist.
  • Although they are the minority, females are quite as able as males to be con artists.

This article is about people who are con-artists in all circumstances.

Perhaps only true skeptics may sometimes be able to identify a skilled con-artist at first sight, but it is important to realize that anyone can become this fraud's victim.

Con artists should never be underestimated!

  • They are experts at gaining the confidence of others;
  • They are well-known for their intelligence;
  • They are extremely smart with highly creative imagination and discernment of human behavior.
  • They are charming with above-average persuasive powers;
  • They con their own parents, siblings and children. (Although people may know the con-artist in their own family, they nurture the hope that he might change any day for the better. Remember: Love covers truth and lies.)
  • They are smooth operators, shrewd intimidators, manipulators and actors par excellence;
  • They thrive on the knowledge that people tend to believe only what they want to believe;
  • They discourage their victims to make contact with relatives and friends; they tend to convince their victims that all relatives and friends hold the righteous and just in contempt;
  • They live in self-denial; renouncement is their forte;
  • Because they are inherent dishonest, they are not able to trust others. They justify their actions to so-called wrongs done to themselves by liars, cheaters, stalkers and con-artists! (Judging others by themselves.)
  • When they are confronted they retreat, pretending that being in a state of defense is beyond their dignity. They will rather accuse their victim of neuroses, paranoia, or when lacking sufficient vocabulary and/or knowledge about mental disorders, use any defaming words.

“Nobody should ever feel embarrassed if they have been victimized by a con artist.” – Bradley Skolnik.

"There's a sucker born every minute." - P. T. Barnum:

Stuart Miles @

Stuart Miles @

Many con artists are sociopaths.

(The word 'psychopath' was once widely used but has now been superseded by 'sociopath').

Con-artists may be trapped in the condition called Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). People with NPD expose a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (either in fantasy or actual behavior), They have an unsaturated need for admiration and respect. They lack empathy, believing that all people, (except themselves), get exactly what they deserve in life and thereafter. If they believe in heaven, they believe that they will be one of only a few who will enjoy the privilege of admission.

NPD is closely linked to self-centeredness, megalomania, superiority complex, egotism, vanity, selfishness, and obsessive compulsive personality disorder.

Individuals with NPD are often ambitious and capable, though their inability to tolerate criticism, along with their lack of empathy, makes it almost impossible to work cooperatively with others and to accomplish success as a normal employee or honest businessman. Their tendency to exploit others, their sense of entitlement, disregard for others and constant need for attention adversely affect all their relationships.

Boaz Yiftach @

Boaz Yiftach @

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American psychiatrist,

Glen Owens Gabbard, suggested NPD could be broken down into two subtypes.

  1. The OBLIVIOUS subtype as being grandiose, arrogant and thick-skinned, presenting a large, powerful, grandiose SELF to be admired, envied and appreciated. This self is the antithesis of the weakened and internalized self that hides in a generic state of shame.
  2. The HYPERVIGILANT subtype as easily hurt, oversensitive and ashamed, neutralizing devaluation by seeing others as unjust abusers. This type does not fend off devaluation; they are obsessed with it.

According to research a person has to meet five or more of the following symptoms in order to be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder

  1. A grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements);
  2. Preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love;
  3. Believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special and unique people;
  4. Rarely acknowledges mistakes, imperfections/shortcomings;
  5. Requires excessive admiration and respect;
  6. Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations;
  7. Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends;
  8. Lacks empathy - unwilling or unable to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others;
  9. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of them;
  10. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitude.

“Sometimes you trust someone who turns out not to be honest. There are a lot of things that happen in life that don't turn out the way you're given the impression that they will. And I think that's all kind of a con. But I think we've probably all been hurt.” ~ Sigourney Weaver

Keerati @

Keerati @

What motivates a person to be a con artist?

It stands to reason: Only personal needs will motivate people to be con artists. Most of the time it will be financial needs, but in many cases financial needs are merely the bottom layer of many layers, such as the need for comfort, security, a safe haven and love.

How will a con artist exploit you?

A con artist will identify your needs and expectations, then pretend that he is the only agent capable of producing the satisfaction you need. His motto is: “Working smart instead of hard.”

He may exploit you via -

  • A financial spam: He will exploit your greed; he will pretend to be capable of filling your bank account with a lot of money. He will try to sell to-good-to-be-true investments, or convince you that you’ve inherited a fortune, or offers you an irresistible, well-paying job in a foreign country.
  • A leisure spam: He will exploit your need for a holiday; he will pretend to be the rental agent of holiday apartments.
  • A romance spam: He will exploit your need to be loved; he will pretend to be the perfect lover and husband.
  • A religious spam: He will exploit your need to live forever in divine luxury; he will pretend to be God’s personal agent with the right to lock and unlock the gates of heaven.


Why have I been a victim of a con-artist from January 2010 to May 2010?

Credulous, sympathetic, curious women who love challenges and adventures easily 'fall' for a con-artist. Challenging reality and in particular men pretending to be ideal husbands and lovers, is a game they cannot resist. Too often my kind of woman don’t really want a husband or a lover, but they need to re-convince themselves that they are better off alone and independent.

These women – at least most of them – might identify a con-artist in time. Then they will hide whatever they are not willing to lose, and they will line up their friends and relatives as rescuers in case of emergency, and they will wait for the right moment to get rid of the proverbial fly in their soup. Cautious, but curious, they will venture into the mind and soul of the con-artist, knowing that he will soon spin himself into a pupa with his own furtiveness.

Challenging a con-artist is like going on a trip to a foreign country, or like being part of an expedition tasked to explore life on another planet, or like enrolling for a course in human behaviour. Sadly, none of these ‘adventures’ are free of charge. The financial AND emotional implications might take years to settle.

Typical Con-Artist Quotes

(Some of these quotes are also notated by The Playground)

  • I had everything but gave it up…
  • I gave her/him/them all my money and possessions…
  • I was/am successful… I achieved my goals, only to realize that they meant nothing…
  • Let me give you some advice… let me help you… let me give you a dream…
  • It is all about you… not about me… I am nothing… you are everything…
  • It's a sure thing… God says…. Statistics proved…
  • What I can give you, will be worth everything for you…
  • I’ve met/know the best of the best people… all sorts of people… nobody can fool me…
  • Let me tell you about my adventures…
  • I know I promised not to do this/that any more, but….
  • We’ll see… Let me think about this… I’ll come back to you…
  • Don't look at me; look at the statistics… the Bible… the evidence…
  • So, who are you after all? You are nobody… You are the scum of this earth…
  • (And on the same day:) You are the best… Next to you I am a fool…
  • When you talk I listen…
  • I'm successful/happy/contented because I am what I am…
  • Put your money/life in my hands, and I'll make you rich/happy…
  • I'll take care of you… I’ll do this/that for you… you can count on me…
  • By the way, will you do me a favour…
  • Let’s do it this way…
  • Let me take you away… you deserve only the best…
  • Trust me… I am always honest… I will never lie to you… I will never embarrass you…

These are mostly the ordinary things said by most men to the woman they love. And yet, they could be the words of a con-artist!


According to Google there are 96,700 confessions of con-artists on the Internet. Here is an extract of only one -

“... I saw the film, "Elmer Gantry" which was about a vacuum cleaner salesman turned to a tent preacher in the 1920s... Talking and telling stories came natural to me.... I started reading the Bible and checking out local churches... Everyone thought I'd gotten religion and was pleased... they started to encourage me... I saw hundreds of people giving money to people who talked about God... so I became a ‘religious’ pillar of the community... There is one thing I can say with absolute certainty: Religion is the home of some of the greatest con artists on the planet...”

Don’t panic!

All con-artists will sooner or later unmask themselves with one sentence: “Send/give me money.” Regard this as a sign to run for the hills.

Also beware! Before unmasking themselves, some con-artists may blindfold you with a gift or two paid with your own money.

“Each man is the architect of his own fate.” - Appius Claudius

Read my personal experience of a con-artist -

podpad @

podpad @

  • 10 Famous Con Artists
    If you are looking for some of the most famous con artists though, then number one would have to be.....

© Martie Coetser

Published date: 09/28/10

Updated on: 04/01/13

Copyright :: All Rights Reserved
Registered :: 2013-04-01 19:14:56
Title :: Con artists – sociopaths - Narcissists
Category :: Article Hub
Fingerprint :: d68367607347c9c3bc697fce3d99cbf04ab2485222c64e272827d06378f0df59



Micheal Hudson on July 25, 2018:

Most of this people claiming to be military personels on dating sites are scammers. You find them on every dating sites , also on instagram. I was involved in a romance scam that I lost a lot of money to the tune $500,000 . I advice you to always insist to see your alleged lover before any financial commitment. If you have lost money to this heartless con artists you can contact They recovered about 80% of my funds traced to the con artist that scammed me. Thank me later.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 08, 2017:

Hi Tamara,

Thanks for reading. The more we know about con artists, the easier it will be to recognize them before they damage our trust in people.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 08, 2017:

Hallo Besarien,

Thank you for the interesting analysis. I was under the impression that the term psychopath was replaced with sociopath. I clearly need to do some more reading on this specific topic. Fortunately, the con-artist who had made me study his behaviour is no longer around to encourage me. Thanks heavens!

Besarien from South Florida on September 28, 2017:

As I understand it, psychopathy can look very similar to sociopathy but is entirely genetic. In times of war/strife/ famine, the percentage of diagnosed sociopaths per capita can increase exponentially, but psychopaths remain a constant (about 2 percent) of the general population and probably have throughout history.

Psychopaths tend to be bright, well-organized, and very self-motivating. They are attracted to corporations, politics, the military, and medicine. They also have a higher than normal risk of going to prison, of course- so those workplaces/populations have more than 2% psychopaths. More like 6 to 8 percent.

Also, while they can never be healthy from a clinical perspective, psychopaths can seem very healthy and can maintain steady lives. They can become very successful, high-functioning, wealthy, powerful people. They do so well under certain circumstances- in big corporations and the military, for example- that they are often viewed as merely gifted, and not at all anti-social or insane. These people are considered non-criminal, non-violent psychopaths. Of course all people are innocent until proven guilty. Maybe some or all psychopaths in this group are just better at not getting caught.

Tamara Moore on September 10, 2017:

An excellent article! Very useful. Thank you for sharing this :-)


Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on September 10, 2017:

Shyron E Shenko – The so-called gospel preacher who gave me a crash course in the subject called ‘Narcissistic Personality Disorder’ also died on his own, far away from his family who had suffered the most of him. In a foreign country, among strangers, of course while conning them out of their trust in fellow-humans, he met his maker.

In the meantime my anger has changed into pity. Nobody choose to have a NP-disorder. It is primarily a surviving method that turns into a disorder. My heart goes out to all victims of people suffering a NPD.

I am sending you many hugs. Please share them with your hubby.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on September 08, 2017:

Martie, this is one I should have read before I married my first husband...he had NPD big time and the other person I knew I had forgotten about until I spoke with a very close friend a couple of days ago and she mentioned a man with NPD that scammed his family and all his friends until he lost them all then he died, alone without even his children. I saw his son at Kev’s wake and he seems to be doing okay at least I hope he is.

Blessings dear friend.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on July 14, 2017:

Nadine May – They are constantly acting the role of the person they pretend to be. Their true identity is that of a failure and coward. I don’t think I have forgiven that so-called gospel preacher for trying to break me down into the puppet he wanted me to be. Even while I know he is no longer alive, I still get pretty upset when contemplating that period in my life – to the point where nausea forces me to focus on one or another captivating activity.

What I still find amazing, is the fact that his facial features could change while carrying on a conversation. I’ve watched him changing from one person to another (while deciding which one was the most attractive, although I have realized from the start (after meeting him in person) that he was suffering one or another mental disorder). I’ve never seen such a phenomenon in my life. I mean, physically changing facial features! Scary! Wish I could have it all on a video. The worse of all: One cannot convince a con-artist that his perspectives and perceptions are wrong. They are trapped in their own game, denying their true identity completely. I still wonder if he was, perhaps, schizophrenic.

Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on July 03, 2017:

You are spot on when you wrote that Religion is the home of some of the greatest con artists on the planet. After reading your post I do recognize at least 9 of the 10 points you mentioned in a family member. His children are very important to him so he sometimes allows a feeling to surface when they need him, but then again he does believe he is the only one that can help them. I cannot be in his company for long without showing that he irritates me.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on May 30, 2017:

Tamara Moore – Yes, I remember my own struggle, and it still angers me to the point where I wish the specific con artist who had crossed my path only bad luck. I hope he is no longer alive. I still can’t believe that I – of all people – have fallen prey to this kind of devil. I still get mad at myself because I didn’t listen to my gut feeling, but to my sympathetic heart and positive mind. But yes, I needed the lesson. It has made me completely psychic – able to recognize sociopaths cum con-artists in a distance.

Tamara Moore on May 29, 2017:

Unfortunately, I have been targeted by these types. I have written many Rhyming Poems about my experiences! Took a long time to get over it.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on April 08, 2017:

Minnetonka Twin – They are like invasive plants – very difficult to eradicate :( Thank heavens, I had no reason to tolerate one for longer than 53 days. However, the many lessons I have learned are precious and useful. I am glad your twin got out of the situation.

Linda Rogers from Minnesota on April 06, 2017:

Just had to read this again Martie. It's makes me so sad and upset that so many narcissistic Sociopath's are out there exploiting people time and time again. No one should have to endure their wrath. Glad my twin sister and you got out of the situation. I think our experiences have taught us all many lessons, including seeing the signs.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on November 08, 2016:

Hy Shyron, these con artists should never be underestimated. I have learned the hard way that I should obey my gut feeling and ignore the 'voices' in my heart and mind. Take care, dear Shyron :)

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on November 06, 2016:

Martie, this is an amazing hub and I am so glad I came across it. I know one of these cons who could tell three or more people a long tale about one subject (mostly about himself) and all three people would believe him, including me, until I by accident saw evidence that the tale he told me was pure fantasy. Unfortunately he forgot which tale was told to which person and eventually everyone found out the truth and he was outed by someone other tan me.

Thank you for publishing this.

Blessings and hugs!...Shyron

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on July 15, 2016:

Hi moonlight girl, thank you for your interesting comment. It is good for a person to know their disabilities and to be honest about it. Fortunately, thanks to one experience of a con, I am able to keep them out of my personal zone. I think you, too, will not become a victim again. Thanks for drawing my attention to Asperger Syndrome - never heard of it before. Now I also know what could be wrong with some people I know.

moongirl on July 10, 2016:


I was recently a victim of adult bullying and online harassment, too...I have Asperger syndrome but my bullies think Im a sociopath since as an Aspie we can show some signs of a sociopath but only outwardly...but its not our true nature btw. Rather I think that many among my bullies are sociopaths and con artists...though not all...but the better ones Im sure were conned into bullying against me...but I think that even the non-sociopaths can carry some sociopathic characteristics in their yes its unfortunate but Im sure even quite a lot of non-socios enjoy being jerks from time to time...

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on August 29, 2015:

David, I am so sorry you had to experience this kind of person in your own church. Somehow they flourish wherever they can exploit people's most basic hopes and trusts. I wish you the best through the healing process :)

davidchoinewyork on August 24, 2015:

I am glad I stumbled upon this site. I didn't know these con artist were this common. Our senior pastor at remnant church, Pastor Victor Kim was outted as a sociopath. Pastor Victor was having affairs with women at church. Imagine the shock. Our Senior pastor for 20 years. No would suspected a thing. He is a pathological liar, chaos creator, basically text book sociopath. I'm surprise that there are so much sociopaths around us. Reading about how prevalent this is helps the healing process. Thank you.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on August 10, 2015:

Tess, they are everywhere. Thanks for commenting :)

tess cusipag on August 01, 2015:

There are some in the Filipino community. A family,and one of the sons can sell you a piece of the moon if you are not careful.

Danny Cabaniss from Shawnee, Oklahoma on June 13, 2015:

Martie, thank you for your response. I appreciate your perspective.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on June 12, 2015:

Danny, what a shock - to learn that your mother was/is a victim of a con artist. It's hard to come to terms with the fact that these con artists are totally heartless, abusing young and old without any qualms of conscience. Good to know the one in your life has been arrested. May he get the punishment he deserves. My best wishes to all of you and in particularly to your mother. Take care!

Danny Cabaniss from Shawnee, Oklahoma on June 11, 2015:

We are just finding out, in the past few days, that my elderly mother has been the victim of a professional con artist. He has just been arrested for another scam he was running. I found this hub to be very helpful, as we deal with the fallout of what he and his wife have done to my sweet mother!

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on June 06, 2015:

Danny, con artist don't see their deeds as selfish, and they definitely don't see any devil inside them. We should take the warnings of our friends and neighbors to heart. From a distance they can often see what we cant's see.

Danny on June 04, 2015:

I had a neighbor of mine who came up to me and ask for $$ cause her utilities were shut off. She was demanding cash back and forth and she lured me to her car and ask me to buy her a cigarette from the conveinant store called Walgreens. One of the neighbors ask me not to go anywhere with her. Cause, she deceived me. I knew she was possessed by the devil for not leaving me alone. She was behaving like a Con Artist for outsmarting everyone in her way. Very selfish of her doing that.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on May 06, 2015:

You have all my empathy, glowstar :)

glowstar on May 04, 2015:

Sounds like my ex!!

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on March 26, 2015:

Hi Deborah, your experience reminds me of my own. But I am sure you have learned your lessons just as I have learned mine. Some of us just have to learn the hard way :) Thanks for sharing :)

Deborah Michael on March 26, 2015:

On line dating is just much of a risk. The international threats are one thing, but I think the narrsasitc preditors have been the worst for me. One person I met, and had a wonderful time. The next thing I knew, he was MOVING IN!! I was very clear about my expectations about this - he was HOMELESS and I didn't know. He proceeded to virtually destroy me financially and my home physically. He drank over a case of beer a day with vodka drinks to start the day. I almost never got rid of him. Just be on guard constantly. Don't be afraid of saying NO. I knew this was screwed up from almost the beginning, but as I say - we had a great time for a couple of months, but the alcoholism exaccerbated the situation as well. These situations are more prevalent for older singles, I think.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on March 01, 2015:

Zelma, yes, they simply move on, doing the same thing over and over again. But let's see them as an important lesson Life is teaching one after another person. At the end they will be 'general knowledge', as common as a flew virus.

zelma on February 23, 2015:

This is so unfair. They can get away with this, and we can do nothing about it. Wish I knew how to contact his "next victim". Would uave done that already. I am the 3 rd person I know of that has been hurt by the same man

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on February 21, 2015:

Zelma, I don't know of a database, and I believe it doesn't exist. Sadly, the law also protects criminals. We may not 'blacklist' or even defame any person based on our personal experience. He has to be a defended in court, and even found guilty, before we may mention his name in our conversations without the chance of getting sued for defamation. You could send his next victim a warning, but rather anonymous, as you could get yourself in serious trouble for 'defaming' her 'new sweetheart'. And this is the reason why so many people are doomed to learn by trial and error. People should take general warnings to heart and learn how to recognise a con artist. If they don't, they simply learn the hard way :)

zelma on February 21, 2015:

Is there is database in South Africa, for con artist? So i can warn other woman about a specific man? I have been married to one, and I do know that he has allready moved on to his next victim.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on February 17, 2015:

Dear, Susan, what a horrible experience you have had! I, too, hate the memories of my experience, so I don't allow myself to dwell in it. But reading your comment, I suddenly remembered that I was called 'an ungodly woman' and 'white trash', because I threw his Whiskey and pills down the drain. While he himself was the ungodly white trash who tried to con-vinced everybody that he was a gospel preacher. But I think Karma already got him... No man or woman can reap any happiness when sowing only lies :)

Susan Sproull on February 16, 2015:

Hi Martie,

I too had a bad experience with a con artist. He was childhood friend. It took him trying to strangle me when I refused to give him another dime for one of his hair brain schemes. Never followed through with anything and it was always someone else's fault.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on February 16, 2015:

Hi Peggy, yes, this hub is getting a lot of attention since the day I posted it. 52 000 views until now! I think most people had at least one bad experience with a con artist. Here are too many evil people on this planet! Thanks for sharing :)

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 14, 2015:

This hub of yours is certainly getting loads of comments! It seems that many people have been taken advantage of by con artists. That Wall Street movie mentioned sounds like a good one. I have not seen it. Will share this time around.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on February 12, 2015:

Hi asmith! Thank you for the link. Thank heavens I never bump my head against the same wall twice. I have learned all I need to know in order to be immune to con artists for the rest of my life.

asmith176 on February 10, 2015:

Seems like the scams are everywhere, for real. I think these guys might be able to help, but not sure. Says it is a TV show helping women who have been conned.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on January 05, 2015:

@ pstraubie48 – It could very well be greed that inspires some to use there talent to con, or perhaps their behavior gets inspired by the success they manage to achieve via conning. Normally they become aware of the latter at a very early stage in their life, and eventually greed kicks in. Scamming and hurting others when things go wrong is such a bad characteristic, and not only of con artists. Thanks for sharing!

@ MarleneB – Fortunately I have had a close encounter with a con artist – an experience I believe I needed in order to obtain immunity. Especially on the Internet we have to know that some very impressive writers are con artists in disguise. Beware, and listen to your gut feeling :)

Marlene Bertrand from USA on January 04, 2015:

You definitely have a solid handle on what a con artist is. It is too bad cons get their claws in before the other person has a chance to know it's happening. Great information here. I'm sharing this because I know it will be helpful to a lot of people to have this information as a defensive tool.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on January 04, 2015:

You nailed it with this article, Martie. At this time I know someone quite well who is all of these and then some. It is such a sad sad case. He had the world at this fingertips and was on the road to success but it is my belief that greed caused these behaviors to emerge. I cannot go into great detail as he is presently involved in legal issues so suffice it to say, he tried to be the epitome of all that is great by scamming and hurting others and the house of cards tumbled in on him.

Voted up+++ Shared and g+ tweeted

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on November 18, 2014:

Purvis, I gave touched only the surface. One can but only wonder why sociopaths cum con artists behave the way they do. It must ave started in their childhood, when the needed to behave in a certain way to get the attention they qnwr. Compulsive liars are nornally addicted to recognition. or perhaps only in dire need of it, they will try all the tricks in the book and even more, and eventually conning others in order to satisfy their own needs, becomes a habbit.

Barbara Purvis Hunter from Florida on November 16, 2014:

Hi Martie,

This detailed hub shows you did your research in all areas of your topics. A wonderful article to share with us.

I know it describes some of my bosses in the past and some relatives.

I am sure I will read this a second time around it is that informative and I might be able to tag some more people; so I no longer wonder why they act the way they do.

Take Care--It was so nice to visit you again.

Bobbi Purvis

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on November 16, 2014:

Dear vocalcoach and fpher,

This is my most-read hub. Amazing how many people in this world are in need of knowing more about con-artists. Read about my personal experience here -

Oh, and don't miss the 2nd phase of our tour... check my profile :)

Suzie from Carson City on November 16, 2014:

Well.....I see this is an oldie but a goodie.....but I checked and it looks like I never saw this one!

The moment I read the Title, I said to myself, "Oh look! Martie has written a hub about some of the men in our lives!!"

How great!....It may take a lifetime to weed through the creeps, but I now realize this is as it's meant to be for MOST of us.

Back-stabbing should be labeled the Ultimate sin, GF.....UP+++

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on November 16, 2014:

This is a favorite hub of mine (third time here) and each time I study this article I learn something new. A sign of great writing.

My own ego is my worst enemy. I work every single day to eradicate this invasive pest. :) I find strength here in each paragraph you've written. What a fine teacher you are!

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 28, 2014:

Hi Jodah, the fact that con artists are still around proves their success. So the question is not when will they stop their conning, but when will people stop allowing them. Why do most of us, including myself, have to learn the hard way? Thanks for sharing your opinion :)

John Hansen from Australia (Gondwana Land) on October 12, 2014:

Hi Martie, I see this hub is four years old and I have only just come across it. Glad I did however. It seems every night on tv current affairs shows we see new scams and people having been ripped off by con artists. The Internet is a haven and playground for them. I don't know how many I have come across trying to scam me out of money. It seems there are so many So called American woman who suddenly have to travel to Ghana etc because their father or mother there has just passed away and they have to arrange their affairs. They died leaving millions of dollars but for one reason or other can't access the money and need your help in some way usually to provide funding to help them pay for their stay there etc until they can access the money (of which they promise to transfer a sizeable amount to your bank account when they get it)...blah blah blah....seems to be a lot of Ghanian millionaires dying lately.

Anyway great informative hub. Voted up and shared. I read Minnetonka's comment..and that is scary too.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on July 11, 2014:

Love you lots, Minnetonka :)))

Linda Rogers from Minnesota on July 10, 2014:

I'm going to give sis a hug for you right now. Love you Martie and so glad you figured the guy out as soon as you did.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on July 09, 2014:

My dearest Minnetonka, I am so sorry you had to wait 7 days for my reply. I was away for a couple of days, and then absorbed by neglected obligations, and in between just too tired to check my online messages. My heart goes out to your darling sis. After only 57 days, or was it 53, in direct contact with a sociopath/con-artist, I have a very clear idea of the fear, anxiety, unhappiness and all that is negative your sister, her children, you and all who were involved had to endure. I hope that punk, and also the one who had taken me for a ride, are no longer oxygen thieves on this planet. Really, they should not be allowed to be who they are. Please give your sis a hug on my behalf :)

Linda Rogers from Minnesota on July 02, 2014:

Hi Martie-it's funny I would happen upon your hub today on Cons, Sociopaths & Narcissists. I keep seeing articles on this topic as I watch my sister's ex husband's kids, her, and I, go through his crap. Sis was married for thirteen years-she will admit she was young and naïve when she met and married him. He was well established in a family job, very charming on the outside when he courted her. My dad knew right away what he was, and saw the red flags that sis didn't see, or want to see. Every time sis was gonna leave him, his abuse would escalate. He would terrorize she and the two kids. One day when sis and I went for a walk-which pissed him off because she was doing something for herself-she came home to quite a dark and scary situation. He had brainwashed his young daughter (4) at the time, that she, her brother, mother and himself , would die on Christmas Eve-She shared this when mom tucked her into bed that night. She said, 'Mommy, daddy says we are all gonna die on Christmas Eve, but will all be back together in heaven. My sister laid on floor for several days between both children's rooms, and watched her then husband's, every move. It wasn't an accident that he chose that date, as he was ordered by a judge to be out of the house by that date. This was a common example of how he terrorized them. Her life is amazing now and full of peace, as I'm sure yours is. She nows goes out into the community and does public speaking about the cycle of abuse.

Great hub that I will be sharing all over, including my board on Sociopath's and Narcissist's on pinterest.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on May 18, 2014:

Flourish, as long as we don't allow them to enter our personal zones, we are okay. I feel sorry for those who are obliged to live with them. I still have to suppress an anxiety attack whenever I remember my brief interaction with a con artist / sociopath in 2010.

FlourishAnyway from USA on May 17, 2014:

There are unfortunately too many of these people. I enjoyed reading but certainly don't enjoy knowing these people.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on November 29, 2013:

Thanks, nighthag, your comments are much appreciated :))

K.A.E Grove from Australia on November 28, 2013:

Interesting read, with great information !

Thanks for sharing it I knw a few people that need to read this

Thank you

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 26, 2013:

Marcella, I am so sorry you have had such a bad experience with a con-artist. Don't allow him or anyone ever again to take you for a ride. At least you have gained knowledge and wisdom during the 8 months - the most valuable assets. Nobody can take it away from you :)

Marcella on October 20, 2013:

I wish I would have read this article 8 months prior. I was recently conned for 8 months and recognized it midway through the relationship. But like all women, we always hope that we can change the person. Everything you have said and described in a con is exactly what he did/is... I hope he has learned his lesson after being taken to court, having his wife find out, and divorcing. Thank you for making me feel better !

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 15, 2013:

Chris, you are welcome to link this hub to yours. According to my stats thousands of people are looking via Google for more information about con-artists. Their actions and behaviour are beyond comprehension, therefore we should rather trust no-one until we are 100% sure that they deserve our trust and respect. I will read your Catfish asap :)

CrisSp from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on October 14, 2013:

I find this topic fascinating all the time and I'll never get tired of reading the same topic and knowing more and more about this kind of people. They are very interesting and your hub made it even more intriguing.

Great presentation.Very informative. I'm taking the liberty to link this in my hub "The Catfish". Please let me know, otherwise.

Voting up, pinning and sharing. Thank you.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on August 11, 2013:

Hi Timmy, fortunately I don't know them. Selling a book about photos of SA.... well, he could have conned a lot of photographers, who knows.... Successful con artists are normally extremely intelligent - how else will they be able to con also the highly intellectuals? So often they have just chosen conning as a vehicle to reach their goals, instead of honesty, although I do believe some dark forces in the self-esteem must motivate them to exploit innocent, hard-working people they way they do - unscrupulous and relentless. The LAW is an ass - perhaps they know enough about the law to use it to their own benefit.

Timmy Land on August 10, 2013:

Do you know them? I've been following this story for about 2 years and it is incredible how these 2 con artists manage to escape without being caught after the damage they caused.And if you look on the internet you find that one of them is selling a book with photos about South Africa .He seems intelligent , sensitive and a guy with a good background.So, no one imagine the personality behind this person.Incredible! they do whatever they want without being caught because the law system doesn't work as it should.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on August 09, 2013:

Timmy, thanks for reminding me of these two scoundrels. "If each would sweep before his own door, we should have a clean city," could have been feasible if these cons were not like chameleons....

Timmy Land on August 09, 2013:

Here are two Con artists to be aware.They live in South Africa and I found some stories about them:

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on July 21, 2013:

I am glad you feel happier, Konstantin. Knowledge is power that will enable you to survive. Don't let a con-artist, sociopath or narcissists ever steal anything from you :)

Konstantin on July 20, 2013:

I feel so much happier now I untansderd all this. Thanks!

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on July 14, 2013:

Midget, too many people of all age-groups fall for those scams. I really don't know how those con-artists manage to live, knowing that they have conned credulous people out of their precious savings. Surely they can't have any conscience at all. Thanks for sharing :)

Michelle Liew from Singapore on July 14, 2013:

This reminds me of a trusting elderly coupler who fell victim to a digest scam. They actually fell victim to a magazine scam, and had invested their entire nest egg. Needless to say, it's hard to rebuild. :( Thanks for sharing.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on May 26, 2013:

Mike, without generalizing and criticizing I dare to say that all successful business men (in whatever sector) and especially politicians are practising the skills of a con-artist. We can handle them. But when exploited and left with a loss, we see them in a different light. Thanks for your visit and profound comment :)

Mike Robbers from London on May 26, 2013:

Very interesting hub. You offered an excellent analysis of the psychological background and the motivation that fuels a con-artist's behavior. Many people might have the notion of a con-artist as a small time crook which is misleading. Unfortunately, the economic, investment etc sectors offer an ideal place for such types of people to thrive and prosper.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on May 18, 2013:

Mark - 'peculiar monsters'....... Ñow why did this perfect description slip my mind? Unfortunately they are immune to insults... :)

Charles Mark Walker from Jasper Georgia on May 18, 2013:

Well,as evil as they are they are usually the ones who get ahead in life.I worked for more than one of these peculiar monsters and hope to never have to deal with another one.....ever.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on May 15, 2013:

Peggy, I agree wholeheartedly. Keep in mind that they - the con-artists preying on others - never have a twinge of conscience. They are parasites. Only God knows why they exist :(

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 14, 2013:

Hi Martie,

I think that the saddest thing of all is when con artists rob elderly people of a good portion of their life time savings...and they prey upon such people. It is sad for others as well, but the elderly have less time to recover from such scams. Interesting hub!

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on May 12, 2013:

Hi Suzette, sadly most of us learn the hard way. Only in the shoes of a victim most of us are able to distinguish between good and evil. Thanks for your visit and supportive comment :)

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on May 12, 2013:

And some of the best of the con artists are sometimes right in your own family! This is an excellent hub and presentation. I have been looking into narcisistic personality disorder and your presentation and explanation is spot on! I wish I had been able to read this when I was 21 years old. I have run into many con artists throughout life and they all have these personality traits. Thanks for a truly interesting and informative hub. Well done and well said!

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on May 07, 2013:

Thanks, Peggy. I hope you are having a wonderful day up there. Now 12:30am down here and I SHOULD go to sleep :)

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on May 07, 2013:

Bravo, Martie. So happy for you and for your transformation. Me too. The bad makes the good so much better. Mongrel Catharsis sounds like heavy metal, dude. Thanks for the mention, Bohemiotx.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on May 07, 2013:

bohemiotetx - good to know you have passed those tests. I am sure you enjoyed that metal garage band you've had. I also hope your neighbours were able to appreciate your talent :)

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on May 06, 2013:

PegCole - Fortunately, at present, I have a Mr. Right in my life. I actually had the privilege to enjoy a Mr. Right for many years before I've met the con-artist/sociopath. (Sadly some factors sometimes change Mr. Rights into Mr. Wrongs and, miraculous, vice versa.) Initially I was married to a bombastic, insensitive man - a Mr. Wrong. But thanks to my brief, but intense, experience with the sociopath I came to the realization that normal bombastic, insensitive men are angels comparing to the con-artist-sociopath. So he - the sociopath - actually changed my bitterness into gratitude because he made me realize exactly how wrong 'WRONG' could be. Thank you so much for your beautiful comments. (7:45 am - now running to work......)

Joffre Meyer from Tyler, TX on May 06, 2013:

Wow, Martie. You have an e-pal in my hometown of Dallas--only two hours west of Tyler! By the way, I "passed" an MMPI and liver test--more to come. I love Peg's use of "cathartic" for in the late 80's, I had 1/2 a heavy metal garage band named Mongrel Catharsis.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on May 06, 2013:

Hi Martie. Thanks for your kind response to my reminiscing. As an afterthought, I will tell you I have found the real love of my life (After kissing a lot of frogs) who treats me like a queen and better than I ever thought possible after the past. On a positive note, there is truly hope of finding Mr. Right and thankfully, I did. If you have time, I wrote a poem called "He Didn't" about the other one. I may turn it into a country song.

I do encourage you to write a journal type novel if only for cathartic purposes. When I read over some of my own, I am shocked at times. It seems to be good for the soul to talk about it so I'm glad you didn't mind me telling you those things. You are a great writer and draw people out of their shell.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on May 06, 2013:

Peggy, so sorry to hear that you were married to one of these animals. It took me almost a year to get on top of only 57 or what days living with one of them, so I have an idea how hard it must have been for you. Why we never listen to advice given to us by others will always boggle my mind. I guess we do need such bad experiences in order to become who we are supposed to be. Btw, I better check my calendar again, because I can no longer remember exactly how many days I've been trapped. I am considering writing a novel in the structure of a diary just to expose the actions of these weirdo's effectively. On the other hand, why punish myself with all those bad memories, recalling all the unpleasant scenes might activate my depression again....

Thank you so much for sharing your experience with me and all readers, Peggy. Much appreciated!

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on May 06, 2013:

Martie, You have such an insight for these types of behavior and describe this type of person with such clarity and truth. I can say I've known my share of these, and like you, bought into the trap of (at least) one man's evil web. His favorite behavior (among many that fit your descriptions) was to come to my house late at night during the work week for "sympathy" (he was a widower) and bring me a "God's will" letter the next Sunday when he regained his religious vigor. He truly qualified for the original psychopath label, before it was tamed down to sociopath. My Dad saw through his lies and deceit and threatened to "take him out" if he ever bothered me again but after that I actually married him. I lost a couple of good years (and a house, all my possessions, my step son and my dog) before I woke up to the reality and a few more years getting over the whole thing. I had no idea these types were so prevalent in society as your article indicates, but since those days I have gotten a lot better at spotting them. Loved your presentation, pictures and clarification on this much needed topic.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on April 24, 2013:

bohemiotx, fortunately all post-traumatic stress disorders are conquerable. I look forward to read your hub on COPD. BTW, I've tested myself again today, and this time I was clearly ENFJ.

Joffre Meyer from Tyler, TX on April 24, 2013:

Personality type isn't correlated with personality disorders--true. I'm an ENFP. However, introverted thinkers are more likely to suffer from PTSD. Sorry to hear you have COPD too. I should write about my COPD experience one of these days.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on April 23, 2013:

bohemiotx, good to know you have a good counselor. I don't think Jung and the developers of his personality types cover disorders. All ESTP-personalities are definitely NOT narcissists. (I am ENFJ, but also ENFP, due to 50-50 on J and P.) I also suffer COPD. May I ask you to write a hub about your personal experience of COPD, and don't forget to send me the link. I do have a Twitter account, but I honestly don't have time on my hands to use it or participate in any tweeting activities. Take care, my dear friend!

Joffre Meyer from Tyler, TX on April 23, 2013:

Thanks, Martie. I've got a good counselor and social worker. I'm a former all-level teacher with a COPD disability. I did research on Narcissist Victim Syndrome. Also I realized my opponent is an ESTP like that Venezuelan dictator that just died. I have a textbook project; check me on twitter @bohemiotx.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on April 23, 2013:

bohemiotx, I hope everything will turn out for the best :) It always does, sooner or later.

Joffre Meyer from Tyler, TX on April 21, 2013:

Unfortunately, the PhD with the film-making company hasn't returned my calls, so it looks like she's struck again. I left a message with him stating that I'd quit working for her without permission, so I need to prepare for the aftermath, and act like Jackie Robinson.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on April 20, 2013:

Bohemio, 'yuk' seems to be an applicable comment. I hope she is already part of your past....

Joffre Meyer from Tyler, TX on April 18, 2013:

She demands praise to the point that she once chastised me when a couple of friends complimented her framed newspaper clipping wall and voiced surprise. But she enjoys hurting feelings and seeing pseudo-rivals do poorly. Yuk

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on April 18, 2013:

Bohem, i actually feel sorry for the lady and for all Narcissists cum con-artists, though I know that emotions are totally wasted on them. Thanks for sharing your experience :)

Joffre Meyer from Tyler, TX on April 17, 2013:

Thanks, Martie. She always under-estimates her opposition. The other day, a long-lost acquaintance was shocked to see me because she'd heard I'd gone crazy! She happens to co-rent an over-priced apt. above The Narcissist. All I did was finally quit working for the lady. The Narcissist realized that for the non emailing/Internet crowd, this would be the prefect lie because I've moved about three miles away from the old neighborhood. Then I sent a link on my general Psy. Type Theory article to our classiest mutual acquaintance in case she tried a different reputation attack strategy. Once he sarcastically bowed down to her when she entered their church for a choir function! Looks like I'll get a you-tube deal out of the venture!!!

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on April 17, 2013:

Bohemiotx, how I detested this exact doings of a con artist , so well described by you. And so sad, - they don't realize that any intellegent person is able to recognize their falseness, or rather their way of living in denial of their own disorder. Thanks for hitting the nail so securely on its head.

Joffre Meyer from Tyler, TX on April 15, 2013:

"Because they are inherent dishonest, they are not able to trust others. ......(Judging others by themselves.)" The narcissist that was in my life wouldn't go to big non-profit or veterans meetings because she feared "copy-cats." She has contempt for meetings in which she isn't the focus of attention or getting an award, dismissing the events as "just talking."

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on April 09, 2013:

Hi my dear vocalcoach - I have recently done some editing in here. This is in fact my most popular hub with the most reads - 30,936 total views up to date. Amazing how many people in this world have a need to know more about con-artists, sociopaths and narcissists. Thanks for the visit.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on April 09, 2013:

Hi Deborah - I wonder if you would like to have a sleazy character like this in your novel. Really, living with one of them for only one week is quite traumatic. Their power should never be under-estimated. Take care!

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