The Social-Engineer Podcast

Welcome to the Social-Engineer Podcast: The Doctor Is In Series – where we will discuss understandings and developments in the field of psychology.


In today’s episode, Chris and Abbie are discussing the psychology of Con Artists. What motivates them, why people fall for them, and how you can protect yourself. [Sept 4, 2023]


00:00 - Intro

00:30 - Dr. Abbie Maroño Intro

01:11 - Intro Links

- -

-          Managed Voice Phishing -

-          Managed Email Phishing -

-          Adversarial Simulations -

-          Social-Engineer channel on SLACK -

-          CLUTCH -

- -

04:58 - The Topic of the Day: Con Artists

06:27 - Definition & Motivation

09:10 - The Empathy Difference

14:57 - Narcissist or Machiavellian???

20:47 - A Good (Bad) Example

22:49 - Ego & Power

24:46 - The Hacker Mindset

30:54 - Cybercrime Variants

35:29 - The Power of Trust

38:43 - Take a Second

43:55 - Wrap Up

44:18 - Next Month: Mimicry                                     

44:33 - Outro




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Allchin, D. (2012). Science con-artists. The american biology Teacher, 74(9), 661-666.

Benson, M.L. 1985, “Denying the guilty mind: Accounting for involvement in white collar crime”, Criminology, vol. 23, pp. 583–607

Blythe, M., Petrie, H., & Clark, J. A. (2011, May). F for fake: four studies on how we fall for phish. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on human factors in computing systems (pp. 3469-3478).

Cowan, L. (2014). The Psychopath: What's Love Got to Do with It?. Psychological Perspectives, 57(3), 291-311.

DSM-IV Task Force 1994, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (fourth edition), American Psychiatric Association, Washington DC

Duffield, G. M., & Grabosky, P. N. (2001). The psychology of fraud (Vol. 199). Canberra: Australian Institute of criminology.

Fisher, K. (2015). The Psychology of Fraud: What Motivates Fraudsters to Commit Crime?. Available at SSRN 2596825.

Frankel, T. (2012). The Ponzi scheme puzzle: A history and analysis of con artists and victims. Oxford University Press.

Hare, R. D. (1999). Without conscience: The disturbing world of the psychopaths among us. Guilford Press.

Konnikova, M. (2017). The confidence game: Why we fall for it... Every time. Penguin.

Krambia-Kapardis, M 2001, Enhancing the Auditor’s Fraud Detection Ability: An Interdisciplinary Approach, Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main.

Muscanell, N. L., Guadagno, R. E., & Murphy, S. (2014). Weapons of influence misused: A social influence analysis of why people fall prey to internet scams. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 8(7), 388-396.

Teitcher, J. E., Bockting, W. O., Bauermeister, J. A., Hoefer, C. J., Miner, M. H., & Klitzman, R. L. (2015). Detecting, preventing, and responding to “fraudsters” in internet research: ethics and tradeoffs. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 43(1), 116-133.