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Interviewing Self-Confident Con Artists

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 70 Issue: 3 Dated: March 2001 Pages: 16-21
Scott O'Neal J.D.
Date Published
March 2001
6 pages
This article discusses how investigators can take advantage of con artists' character traits to bring them to justice.
Successful con artists are charming, manipulative, and able to exploit the innate trust and greed of many people. Con artists' willingness to talk freely makes them overconfident and vulnerable to the techniques of skilled and trained interviewers. The investigator may call subjects on the telephone to set up an interview or arrive unannounced at an office or residence. Subjects, who believe that they have the upper hand and know much more than the investigator, will usually answer questions with little hesitation. Investigators should appear to accept statements they know are false, and encourage the subject to provide details. In fraud investigations, the requirement of proving intent to defraud poses a significant challenge. By allowing the overconfident subject to talk freely and continue the deception during an interview, investigators can elicit sufficient proof of criminal intent in the form of false exculpatories and admissions. Additionally, the article observes, this approach can increase the chances of obtaining a full confession. Notes