The Mind Of The Mark If you're the kind of person who thinks you can't be conned, that assumption may make it harder for you to recognize when you actually are being scammed. We speak with professional poker player and author Maria Konnikova about how con-artists get inside the stories we all tell ourselves, about ourselves. Then we go to an international multimillion dollar scam in Costa Rica, where a master of the con meets his match... the IT guy.
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The Mind Of The Mark

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The Mind Of The Mark

The Mind Of The Mark

The Mind Of The Mark

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This is an excerpt from a real script used in an international sweepstakes scam based out of Costa Rica. Autumn Barnes-Fraser hide caption

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Autumn Barnes-Fraser

This is an excerpt from a real script used in an international sweepstakes scam based out of Costa Rica.

Autumn Barnes-Fraser

When professional poker player and author Maria Konnikova decided to write a book about con artists, she noticed that the way we tend to talk about con artists is almost always from the point of view of the criminal. The victim, "the mark," is the object of pity and sometimes contempt.

As she started exploring the psychology of the con, she realized that the romanticization of the con artist — and the blame heaped on victims — might make us more vulnerable to being scammed.

On this episode of Rough Translation, Maria analyzes a real-life scam sent in by a listener to explain what happens inside our minds as we fall for a con. Then, we go to Costa Rica, where an IT professional attempts to foil a multimillion dollar scam by conning the con man.

Further reading:

  • The Confidence Game by Maria Konnikova
  • Can a little self-delusion be a good thing? Check out this live conversation between Maria and Rough Translation host Gregory Warner at the World Economic Forum last year.

You can hear more Rough Translation stories here.