5 Tips on How to Spot a Con Artist

Interacting with salespeople is a fact of life. But how do you know they are honest and not scamming you?

Baylor University's Center for Professional Selling conducted an international study of more than 140,000 salespeople and found that those who worked in the United States were the most "ethically challenged," reports Australia's Sydney Morning Herald. Lead author and behavioral scientist George Dudley, who also co-authored the book "The Hard Truth About Soft-Selling," blamed this on Americans' pursuit of money as a primary life goal.

American salespeople also tended to exaggerate--a lot. Specifically, their exaggeration rate was 57.2 percent, followed by the Swedish at 53.6 percent and Canadians at 53.3 percent. Salespeople in New Zealand and Great Britain exaggerated the least of the nine nations surveyed.

Exaggeration is one thing. Being conned is another. Dudley and his co-author Jeff Tanner offer these five tips on how to spot a con artist:

  • Compulsively drops names.
  • Claims total expertise in an unrealistic number of fields.
  • Seems unmoved by threats of being exposed.
  • Explains being caught in a lie as a "harmless misunderstanding."
  • Overuses trust-building words such as "integrity," "openness" and "principles."

--From the Editors at Netscape

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