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Crimes of Persuasion: Schemes, Scams, Frauds. How con artists will steal your savings and inheritance through telemarketing fraud, investment schemes and internet consumer scams. Paperback – 1 May 2003


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To fully understand the scope and mechanics of the multitude of scams, telemarketing frauds, investment schemes and interrelated deceptions that affect millions of victims yearly it will perhaps help to fictionalize a single entity which will be entirely responsible for all of them, the Gold Dust Corporation. Read the first page
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Amazon.com: 11 reviews
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Better Safe Than Sorry! 18 Jan. 2005
By Jack Payne - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Reading Les Henderson's Crimes of Persuasion is much like observing a series of 40-foot long steel containers being dropped from a dockside ocean freighter onto a flat-bed truck. The impact, over and over again is huge, as the trailer bounces and flexes, as its tires resist the extra weight of each drop. With each page you keep saying to yourself, "That's how they do it!" "That's how they organize!" "That's the come-on!" "So, that's the hook!" We learn all about the players in the game too: the "Fronter," the "Qualifier," the"No-Saler," the "Takeover" Man. We learn all about the mechanics of the games themselves--"clean sheeting," "blind pools," much more. ##### Sometimes it takes simple minds to understand complicated situations. Thank goodness. Because con games are usually very complex--thoroughly thought out, prepared, and worked by brilliant people--we "Marks" (simpletons--the victims), in this case have a chance. ##### With the aid of this book you are prepared for just about anything the con man might throw at you. It's beautifuly Contents-ed and Indexed. Want to know about sweepstakes scams? Right there. Just look it up. How about telemarketing frauds, home equity, elder abuse, home repair, identity theft, internet shenanigans, etc. On and on. On and on. On and on. It's all right here. You only have to look it up. It's a great defensive tool for everyone, in this day and age of get-rich-quick, follow the bouncing ball, smoke and mirrors trickery. ##### What's the underlying premise of con games? Gain your confidence. Pure and simple. Here's just one example: You get a call from a smooth-talking stock "Expert," who is pitching you because he knows you are an investor. He tells you to watch ABC co. stock; it's going up. A week later, after the stock of ABC co. has gone up, as he said it would, he calls you back and confides that the stock of XYZ co. is going down; keep tabs. When the stock drops, exactly as he said it would, you now have a level of confidence in him when he calls the third time. Right? That's the point. You are now "set-up," vulnerable to whatever kind of investment he may now say is desirable. How did he do it? How did he know ABC was going up and XYZ was going down? Easy. He started out with a list of 200 names from the phone book. He was right on 100 of them. He then called that 100 and was right again on 50. You were in that list of 50. Presto! ##### In all, this book is about the most encylopedic tome for consumer protection I've seen, covering the whole gauntlet of cons, scams, and frauds like the proverbial "blanket." The next time you are in Ceasar's Palace, note the small warning sign by the door, "Gambling can be addictive; if you think you have a gambling problem, call the number below to contact Gamblers Anonymous." Similarly, if you think you might have a Susceptibility-to-Con-Games problem, ownership of this book, Crimes of Persuasion: Schemes, Scams, Frauds is your "Gamblers Anonymous".
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Crimes of Persuasion A Must Read 13 Jan. 2001
By Helen Sibley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I recently purchased a copy of "Crimes of Persusion" by Les Henderson. This book is an excellent, comprehensive collection of fraudulant schemes contrived by clever con artists. Having been conned myself by a now defunct housing corporation,General Development, this book had particular appeal. The short, easy to read sections with catchy titles highlight hundreds of scams. Whether it be pyramid schemes, poetry contests, cruiseline specials etc..., I think readers will be surprised at how many times they, themselves, have actually been deceived. I know I was. Also, I discovered a cruise line scam that a close friend of mine had just fallen victim to. The author's description of the actual scam was almost verbatim to the phone call she had received. To avoid becoming an innocent victim of some smooth-talking con artist, make "Crimes of Persusion" a must read for 2001.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Very informative book 11 Feb. 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I have read Mr. Henderson's book and found it to be very informative. My elderly mother was scammed and I wish I had read the book prior to the event to help warn her of the signs that she could have been made aware of. This book would make a great gift to anyone who you would like to inform. I have done a lot of research on the "art of scamming" since this event has taken place, and this book is very good in explaining the different types of scams and how they work. I may add that I am one of those people who never dreamed that "this" could happen in my family......sad to say, it happens more than we even know.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The World's Second Oldest Profession? 30 Nov. 2009
By Jason Kirkfield - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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"Imagine then, a worthless item covered in gold dust so fine that while appearing lustrous, a simple puff of wind or breath reveals its true value." p.5
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I own the first edition (2000). I believe Les both wrote and published it himself. There is so much raw data here, I think an editor would have provided some measure of control. That's one explanation for the book being over 600 pages long. Another culprit is the large font size. I suppose one justification for that might have been the anticipated readership, i.e., senior citizens who might be scam targets (and who I suppose have bad eyesight!).

Still, the author is to be commended for tracking down these scam artists. If the book is not as attractive as one from a major publishing house, so be it. The message is still valid, and the cost of purchasing "Crimes of Persuasion" must surely pale in comparison to the potential for lost life savings.

After all, it is easier than ever to get scammed and we must always remain vigilant. Is an offer too good to be true? Then it probably is. While not advocating paranoia, I believe a healthy degree of skepticism will prevent criminals from taking your money easily. As well, there is a responsibility to keep an eye on our elderly relatives who are, it must be said, ripe for the picking. Many older people have a trust and respect for their fellow citizens which can be exploited. They also may be unable to fact check or do due diligence online.

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"Offenders routinely include an element of urgency in their pitches, stressing that the prize, investment, or other item being offered will not be available unless you send the required funds quickly." p.13
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This book covers many variations of scams, some popular, some less encountered. Pyramid schemes, Ponzi schemes, chain letters, Nigerian 4-1-9 ("The manufacture of impressive stamps and letterhead is now supported by a huge infrastructure funded by the huge success of this industry." p.522), lottery and sweepstakes, medical billing, money clubs, affinity fraud, and much, much more. Even other ways of separating yourself from your money, such as boiler room telemarketing, or face-to-face street scams like the pigeon drop.

Ever received a series of calls (or newsletters) accurately predicting market trends or even specific stock movement? Here's the magic behind the curtain:
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"The scammer began with a calling list of 200 people. In the first call, he told 100 that the price would go up and the other 100 were told it would go down. When it went up, he made a second call to the 100 who had been given the "correct forecast." Of these, 50 were told the next price move would be up and 50 were told it would be down. The end result: Once the predicted price decline occurred, he had a list of 50 persons eager to invest." p.90
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In addition to the concerns I mentioned at the outset, only five pages of "Solutions" at the very end of the book seemed light. The pagination as it relates to the Table of Contents was also askew. Hopefully the 2nd edition (2003) remedies these issues, and is more readable. I'm guessing so at least on the latter point, since it is listed at a slimmed down 436 pages.

Once you are prepared with the knowledge and insight to repel scammers, you can watch late-night Get Rich Quick informercials just for the fun of it.

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"The unnaturally happy and enthusiastic audience is paid to applaud and look dumbfounded as each new feature is revealed." p.482
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Further reading might include License to Steal and The Big Con:

License to Steal : The Secret World of Wall Street and the Systematic Plundering of the American Investor

The Big Con: The Story of the Confidence Man
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Alot of grey areas 1 Jun. 2008
By just do it - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I bought this book after looking at the table of contents and seeing the plothera of cons that can be done to people and businesses. I wanted to use the book as a comparative to ethical marketing. Well guess what? You can argue that the con man and the businessman uses the same tatics!!!! Indeed, in this book there are some straight cons that are blankety illegal, but, others really aren't so cut and dry. Some methods that marketers use and "get away" with you can find on informocials past and present. Some of the biggest names and best selling products and services in history have been used by marketers using some of the methods in this book. I think the blur between whats legal and illegal can be a matter of what the government and law enforcement choose to do with a company.

This book was an eye opener and I thought that there is no way I could be conned, but, I see as the author pointed out that anyone can be conned, including the author with all his knowledge.
My only caveat is that a consumer can read this book and may think that everything is a con because the con man and legitimate companies are so much alike. The real difference is what is deemed as value by consumers, lawyers, gov't and all who choose to be involved.
My only other complaint is that I was left wanting more details!! Things such as the economics of the con and cost analysis of hiring and building the company of each con and a whole lot of other specifics which probably would've catapult this book to 1000 pages!
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