Could you spot a con artist?
If you answered yes, you have just provided definitive proof that you are a potential victim. Remember, the "con" in con artist stands for confidence. Not only does the scammer gain your confidence that he is telling the truth, he also exploits your confidence in yourself.
"We're very good at being objective about others, but not about ourselves," said New York psychologist Maria Konnikova, author of the 2016 best-seller "The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It ... Every Time." "So oftentimes people say, 'if it's too good to be true, it is, get out.' But that's very easy to say about other people, it's really hard to say about ourselves because nothing's too good for me, I'm a person who really deserves this."
That is one reason people were so quick to believe former college and pro football star Art Schlichter, who is profiled on the next episode of CNBC's "American Greed." Schlichter falsely claimed to have connections for discounted sports tickets that he could resell at a profit. He just needed investors to help him buy the tickets. Of course, there were no connections and no discounted tickets. The money went instead to feed Schlichter's gambling addiction.