The Ten Commandments of Con Artists

Victor Lustig's Rules

One - Victor Lustig


The Scam
Victor "The Count" Lustig is one of the greatest con artist's of all time. In 1925 he sold the Eiffel Tower to scrap metal dealers. In 1929, after the original victim's failed to go to the police, he returned to Paris and committed the same fraud for a second time. He even managed to convince one of his victim's to give him a bribe.

He also created a fake money duplicating machine that produced counterfeit notes. The machine didn't actually work but that didn't stop him selling them for $25,000 a pop!

His ten commandments for con men are still used today by con artists around the world.

  • Be a good listener - the myth of the fast talking, silver tongued con man should be ignored.
  • Never appear bored - show nothing but interest in your victim
  • Agree with the victim's politics. Wait for the other person to reveal any political opinions, then agree with them
  • Agree with the victim's religion.
  • Hint at sex talk without being explicit
  • Never discuss illness unless they bring up the subject
  • Never ask about personal circumstances.
  • Never talk yourself up. Your brilliance should be obvious
  • Never be messy or untidy.
  • Never get drunk or take drugs

These commandments are also used by salespeople and those with an interest in affecting people's behaviour.

If the con artist is good, they can sell the Eiffel Tower.

History, sales

Created by Nicholas J. Johnson
Australia's Honest Con Man