The no. 1 sign of a con-artist is a push for quick involvement.
The romance artist comes on strong in the beginning. He has tons of time for you with his frequent phone calls, emails and chats. He wants to speak with you the first thing in the morning and right before you go to sleep. He will talk about falling in “love” quickly. He will tell you that he has never felt like this about another woman and he has never felt so much so fast and that you are a “God send.” The con artist is eager to win your affection and commitment because his ultimate plan is to scam you.
This is the true story of a handsome, schmoozing con artist—and he’s still out there!
I met Bart (not his real name), a handsome, dapper, out-of-town businessman, in an upscale restaurant. I was with girlfriends. He was sitting at the bar having dinner and wine while watching the overhead TV. He looked intriguing, respectable and approachable.
I casually perched myself on a bar chair next to him to get his attention. He quickly took the bait. He asked me for my phone number and he called me the following week and asked me out.
I met Bart for dinner. He was courteous, outgoing and he had the air of a well-bred gentleman. He was an excellent conversationalist, he spoke fluent French and he was knowledgeable about wines and food. He was a skydiver, tennis player and he traveled abroad. We shared an interest in cooking and we talked in length about recipes, culinary techniques and which grocery stores carried the hard-to-find ingredients. After dinner, he walked me to my car, we said goodnight, and we went our separate ways. The next week Bart again invited me to dinner.
Bart didn’t offer to pick me up at my home—and I soon found out why.
I arrived early at the restaurant. I was sitting in my car in the parking lot, touching up my lipstick, when I saw Bart drive up in an old beat-up BMW. I was shocked to see such a polished, articulate businessman driving such a rattletrap. He got out of his car, saw me, and looking slightly embarrassed, he walked over to me, greeted me with a hug and handed me a large sack brimming with organic snacks he had purchased at the natural foods store we discussed on our first date.
The hostess escorted us to the restaurant's wine chamber. It was a quaint, narrow room with a single table for two decked with a white linen cloth and a crystal vase of Gerbera daisies. Dozens of glimmering tea candles perched on the rustic wooden shelves that housed hundreds of bottles of wine.
I was duly impressed!
Bart invited me to go to the IMAX theatre with him on Saturday. I was caught up in his elaborate dinner date and flattery and before I considered what I was doing, I invited him to my home for pre-movie drinks and appetizers.
Bart walked me to my car, gave me a restrained kiss, and seeing his dilapidated Bimmer again, I wondered why such a smooth act was riding around in a bucket of bolts.
I got an uneasy feeling I was being set up.
Something didn’t feel right about Bart. Yes, he was charming and gentlemanly but there were aspects about him that didn’t add up. For instance: The night I met Bart he told me he was “out” of business cards. That’s strange—a fastidious professional man comes to town to seek a major consulting position—but he doesn’t have any business cards? His cell phone had a local area code—that’s odd—he lives in another state. He dodged my questions about his relationship status—he said it was complicated. He was evasive about his consulting job—he said his client was confidential and he rented a room in a pilot’s crash pad.
I asked myself: why did an accomplished, sophisticated businessman live in a flophouse, have a local cellular area code and drive a junkyard clunker?
Bart’s courtship seemed contrived. He was guarded with his answers and he chose his words carefully. His conversations felt mechanical and emotionless.
I called Bart to cancel our date. He didn’t answer his phone and so I left him a voice message. Bart called me several days later; I didn’t answer the phone and he didn’t leave a message. The following week he called me three times, and again he didn’t leave a message. The next week he called every other day and then twice a day. In all he called me over a dozen times—not once leaving a message. There’s something fishy about a man who stalks you on the telephone—but he won’t leave a message.
It’s easy to spot a con artist if you know what to look for:
- He immediately calls, emails and texts you throughout the day and night.
- He works hard to impress you, sending you cards and flowers and giving you gifts and trinkets.
- He talks about love, intimacy and commitment early on.
- He asks you questions about your financial status or he reveals his quickly.
- He boasts of financial assets, future wealth or possessions.
- His answers to your questions are evasive and sketchy and he constantly has excuses for everything.
- He is hard to reach by phone and your calls always go to his voice mail.
- He tells you he’s relocating to an area near you.
- His polished attire and boast of success and wealth don’t match up with his lifestyle.
A month passed and I thought I had exaggerated, over-reacted and even imagined Bart’s queer behavior … and then I ran into my girlfriend Lisa, who also spoke with Bart the night we were at the restaurant
“He’s married! Lisa howled, “and he lives in Chicago, not Atlanta.”
My eyes widened. “How do you know that?” I asked, shocked and amazed.
“I asked him and he told me,” she smirked.
Take a note in your iPhone: If you feel it in your heart and you think it in your head—chances are you are right.
Do you repeatedly fall in love with men who are emotionally unavailable, non-committal or verbally and physically abusive? Learn the warning signs of anti-social personalities in the best-selling self-help book:
Never Date a Dead Animal:
The Red Flags of Loser, Abusers, Cheaters and Con-Artists
By Nancy Nichols
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