Name
Sob Stories

Aka
Down on your luck

Victims
Sympathetic suckers

Crew
Usually one, but misery does love company.

The Scam
The sob story is an excellent convincer for a con artist to throw into a scam. The con artist creates a strong emotional need for the money that ties into the victim's a) guilt or b) desire to do good.

Variations
Charity Collectors: It is important for all people to give something back to their community. Just make sure it's not to a con artist.

Travel Money: The con artist requires money for petrol, train tickets or bus fare. Often, they will say they need a certain amount. "I have eight dollars but I need nine dollars more for the seventeen dollar fare". This is supposed to make the request seem legit.

The Locksmith: The con artist goes door knocking looking for a victim to lend him cash for a few minutes so he can get into his house. Apparently the locksmith want unlock the door until the bill has been paid but since the con artist's wallet is still in his house, he needs to borrow the cash from a neighbour!

Petrol Money: The con artist's car has run out of a petrol and he needs to borrow money.

Take
Depending on the sympathy the con artist can enduce, money can range from spare change to hundreds of dollars.

Case Studies

A boy in Melbourne used to travel on the trains making sure to sit nice and close to his victim. He would answer is phone and, after a brief conversation, burst into tears and hang up. When the victim asked what is wrong, the boy would tell them his mother was in hospital and about to die but she was in perth. Most victims would give him money towards an airfare. Some would give him the whole fare!

A couple on Brunswick St, Melbourne had, for several weeks, been trying to get petrol money to return to Bendigo. Unfortunately, after six weeks of trying, they still didn't have enough money! Must be a big car.

Keywords: Short con

Created by Nicholas J. Johnson
Australia's Honest Con Man
www.conman.com.au