Victor Lustig’s 10 commandments for con men

Victor Lustig, born in 1890, was one of the world’s most renowned con men.  In 1925, he posed as a French government official, took five businessmen on a tour of the Eiffel Tower and sold it to one of them as scrap metal.  This scam worked so well he did it a second time.  He once tricked Al Capone out of $5,000.  He had 25 aliases, spoke five languages and, by the 1930s, was wanted by 45 law enforcement agencies worldwide.

The following was his advice to aspiring con men.

  • Be a patient listener (it is this, not fast talking, that gets a con-man his coups).

    Victor Lustig

  • Never look bored.
  • Wait for the other person to reveal any political opinions, then agree with them.
  • Let the other person reveal religious views, then have the same ones.
  • Hint at sex talk, but don’t follow it up unless the other fellow shows a strong interest.
  • Never discuss illness, unless some special concern is shown.
  • Never pry into a person’s personal circumstances (they’ll tell you all eventually).
  • Never boast. Just let your importance be quietly obvious.
  • Never be untidy.
  • Never get drunk.

Click on The World’s Greatest Con Artists: Victor Lustig for more about his career.

Click on Victor Lustig wiki for his Wikipedia biography.

Hat tip to Lists of Note.

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2 Responses to “Victor Lustig’s 10 commandments for con men”

  1. Jimmy Aring Says:

    Hi Phil
    What is it about these people that even though they are despicable they are utterly fascinating? Their intelligence is admirable, their brazenness inspiring and their wit humbling. I guess entrepreneurialism is attractive no matter who it’s clothing. At least he didn’t waste his time as a telemarketer, although, I can see him doing well even with that.
    Cheers Jimmy

    Like

  2. Victor Lustig’s Ten Commandments for Con Men | A Smile And A Gun Says:

    […] Looks like I’m not the only person on WordPress who posted about this guy. Phil Ebersole also has a post abut him […]

    Like

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