Don't you listen to this man's offer.
The Con Man (also known as a grifter, matchstick man, scam artist or con artist) attempts to gain the confidence of naive people and part them from their money, or at least play them for a fool long enough to get what they want—that is, to pull off The Con
. Con artists often spin a 'sob story' to hook the victim—maybe their dog is lost, or their car is being towed, or their mother may even be in the hospital. After that, it's all Social Engineering; a truly gifted con artist can get away with almost anything, simply by virtue of appearing sincere and naïve (usually slightly moreso than the victim, on the theory that sympathy almost always gets you something). For complicated cons, the Caper Crew
may come into play: large teams might be involved, with each member of the team playing a distinct role.
Hollywood tends to treat Con Men as being one of two extremes. In shows where the Con Man is the star, they are a suave, sophisticated Loveable Rogue
, who confine their schemes to cheating the rich and the unlikable. The Cop Show
, however, tends to show a darker side. When a Con Man is an antagonist, they tend to target the vulnerable and sympathetic, such as the elderly, widows, and desperate poor people. They may even be murderous and trick people into their deaths.
See also The Con
, a lift of specific methods used by con men, Short Con
, which is penny-ante con Tropes, and Long Con
, which is more elaborate conning operations.
Sub Tropes: Specific types of/roles for the Con Man: