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 he wants, that is, to pull off The Con
. Con-artists often spin a 'sob story' to hook the victim — maybe his dog is lost, or his car is being towed, or his 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 naive (usually slightly moreso than the victim, on the theory that sympathy almost always gets you something). For complicated cons, 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, he is a suave, sophisticated Loveable Rogue
, who confines his schemes to cheating the rich and the unlikable. The Cop Show
, however, tends to show a darker side. When a Con Man features as an antagonist, they tend to target the vulnerable and sympathetic, such as the elderly, widows, and desperate poor people.
Sub Tropes: Specific types or roles for the Con Man