Ace - bribing authorities to stay away
Button - phony police make a bust
Cannon - a pickpocket
Easy Mark - someone who likes to
take chances, therefore making an ideal mark
Fish (or Greenhorn) - someone
who is new in town and therefore is unfamiliar with their surroundings;
makes an ideal mark
Green Goods - exchanging real money
in exchange for near-perfect counterfeits
Red Inking - a double bluff where
the con man threatens or tries to frighten off a mark in order to make
them commit more to the scheme
Shill (or Plant) - a grifter who
is used like an extra on a film or TV show - they pose as another customer
to help convince the mark
Snake Oil - fake potion that is
claimed to cure an illness
Stall - point in a con where the
target is temporarily prevented from participating in order make them
want to take part even more
Tear Up - a devise to instil trust
- the target's cheque is torn up in front of them so they believe that
the con man is trustworthy
The Wire - any operation pretending
to have advance or inside information - normally used with betting on
Famous con artists
Yellow Kid Weil - a notorious American con artist of the late 19th century
who started off working a 'Snake Oil' scam and then worked 'The Wire'.
He was one of the inspirations for the film The Sting.
'Count' Victor Ludwig - tried to con people into buying the Eiffel tower.
David Pecard - posed as an FBI agent and conducted several investigations.
Also married six women.
Frank Abagnale - one of the youngest con men operating between the ages
of 16 to 25. He managed to con people into believing he was an airline
pilot, a lawyer and a doctor.
The film, Catch Me If You Can, was based on his life.
Gregor McGregor - Scottish con artist who conned people into investing
in the fake island of Poyais.
Ten famous con films over the decades
1. The LadyKillers (1955) - starring Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers
(remade in 2004 starring Tom Hanks)
2. Ocean's Eleven (1960) - starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and
Sammy Davis Jr (remade in 2001 starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt and
3. The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) - starring Steve McQueen (remade
in 1999 starring Pierce Brosnan)
4. Paper Moon (1973) - starring Ryan O'Neal
5. The Sting (1973) - starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman
6. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) - starring Michael Caine and Steve
7. The Grifters (1990) - starring Jon Cusack, Angelica Houston and
8. Catch Me If You Can (2002) - starring Leonardo DiCaprio
9. Matchstick Men (2003) - starring Nicolas Cage and Sam Rockwell
10. Confidence (2003) - starring Edward Burns, Dustin Hoffman, Rachel
Weisz and Andy Garcia