So I’m looking for a new place to live and have been looking around online to see what’s out there. As I expected there are a bunch of places I would never consider. There are the places that I would love to live. And then there are the places that I can only dream about until I become a bestselling author. Then there are the places that seem perfect.
A little too perfect.
One apartment that came up during my search was exactly what I was looking for. To the point that my eyes very nearly turned into stars as I danced around the room. I immediately fired off an email to find out more about it as I daydreamed what it would be like to live there. The people I’d meet, what it would be like to come home somewhere so amazing. I practically planned out the next few years of my life in that moment.
Then I got a response.
While it wasn’t too out there, there was something off about the email. I couldn’t really put my finger on it. The man seemed friendly enough and gave me the right amount of information but it gave me a weird feeling.
I need to backtrack a bit here and mention that I’m a big fan of films/shows/books about con artists. So while I was writing Liar’s Game and planning the sequels I dove into the research with relish. I learned a huge amount about that world and the different techniques con artists use to gain peoples’ confidence. I like to think that if all else fails, I’ve gained the skills for a new career (HA!).
But I digress.
I did a little more research about the building and the area and asked some very specific questions about it and requested to arrange a viewing. Then I just sat back and waited. The next email confirmed my suspicions. He answered none of my questions but gave me a contact phone number and a payment site since he was conveniently out of the country and couldn’t meet. That’s when it hit me. He was trying to get me with a Spanish Prisoner variant. Further Googling revealed that this particular con had been going on since late 2011. I even found the exact emails I’d been sent using different apartments all over the world from dozens of pseudonyms.
So long story short, he didn’t get my money, I didn’t get scammed and I might have gotten an idea for a con in a later story.
Moral of the story: if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Oh, and remembering research can come in handy in the long run.