Beware the Credit Card Millionaire
Con men come in all shapes and sizes. From the elegant mountebank hawking Dr. Feelgood’s magic hair elixir to the foreign prince who must deposit “$$ 50 Million US” by Tuesday, a con man succeeds by gaining the confidence of his mark. Today we examine an abundant subspecies of con man that I call the credit card millionaire (CCM).
We are told to surround ourselves with successful people. Winners.
The cologne-scented magazines tell us that successful people wear expensive Swiss watches and drive big German sedans. The CCM exploits these messages to run his confidence game.
The CCM syllogism:
Successful people wear Rolexes.
I wear a Rolex.
Therefore, I am successful.
The CCM leases the car and buys the watch on credit, but to him these trinkets are more than tools of the trade. The CCM believes that he is entitled to live like a king even though he produces nothing of value. He is not stealing or freeloading. He is simply getting what he deserves; what the world owes him for his greatness.
His hair will be highlighted. He doesn’t wear socks. He went deep sea fishing on Tuesday. He is too rich to wear long pants to your office. He may be wrapped in gold chains and bracelets.
The CCM will have great opportunities, too. Right now, he’s negotiating a huge deal to develop twelve stand-alone restaurants in the Carolinas, and he wants you to be the general contractor. But he is not afraid to take you to task if you can’t keep up with his hustle and bustle. Remember, he’s successful. He deserves a top notch product. He’s in the fast lane. Now. Now. Now.
Of course, none of this is real. The CCM is mimicking a successful person in order to latch on to his host (that’d be you) to extract goods and services. Biologists refer to this behavior as aggressive mimicry, where parasites or predators share signals with harmless species allowing the mimic to avoid identification by their host or prey. The CCM thus shares much in common with the humpback anglerfish, the assassin bug, and the leucochloridium genus of flatworm.
By The original uploader was Elapied at French Wikipedia, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17897496