When we hear about confidence games, we think, “never me.” Welcome to The Grift, a show about con artists and the lives they ruin. Best-selling author and New Yorker writer Maria Konnikova takes us to the darker side of human nature and deceit. Ten stories about card sharks, cult leaders, art forgers, impostors, and more. Why do we fall for them time and time again?
Introducing Empire on Blood
From the Producers of The Grift and Revisionist History, Empire on Blood is a new podcast from Panoply that chronicles award-winning journalist Steve Fishman's seven-year investigation to uncover the truth behind a Bronx double homicide and one man's journey to overturn his life sentence. Subscribe now on Apple Podcasts or wherever you like to listen.
The Grift Presents: Family Ghosts
The Grift presents an episode of another Panoply podcast we think our listeners will love: Family Ghosts.
When Nick's grandfather died in 1994, something bizarre happened: his aunt Susan stole the body and hid it. Susan died shortly thereafter, and for the last twenty-three years, Nick and his family have agonized over his grandfather's whereabouts - but much to Nick's frustration, never enough to actually try and find him.
This week, Nick asks "Family Ghosts" host Sam Dingman to see what he can do.
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Thanks for listening!
The Greatest Impostor
Ferdinand Demara is quite possibly the greatest con artist you’ve never heard of. With good reason: he hardly ever used his own name. Demara was a professional impostor. In his long and prolific career, he passed himself off as a surgeon on a warship, an engineer, a college dean, a cancer researcher, a cop. And the list goes on. Demara operated for over fifty years, and impersonated at least fifty people, that we know of… and he got away with all of it.
We hope you enjoyed the last episode of this season of The Grift! Let us know what you think of the show on social media and by leaving us a review in Apple Podcasts.
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Peter Fenton made a career out of crafting that con we’ve all fallen for: the con of fantasy, of alternative realities that are much more pleasant than the existing one. This week, we go inside the world of carnival game scams, why we fall for them even when we know the odds are against us. Later, Peter recounts his career as a tabloid fabulist. Peter Fenton is the essential grifter – he sells us the stories we most want to believe.
A fraud is lurking on most every block of most every city and town, all over the world: the psychic. When you’re down, when you’re alone, when you’re uncertain: that’s when you’re perfectly vulnerable to that old teller of the future, the person who offers you certainty and clarity and counsel and support when you most need it. The person who knows just how to take advantage of the basic human desire for control over our lives. They search for the perfect victim, work their way into her life, and gradually, take away everything. That’s what happened to Lyla.
For a Small Investment...
Oscar Hartzell, born to humble beginnings, would go on to craft one of the most elaborate and successful mail fraud cons of all time. Pirates, lost treasure, the Wild West — it's the Spanish Prisoner, with a very English twist.