I have always loved movies about con artists, from "The Sting" to "American Hustle" to "Paper Moon." So I was happy to talk with Maria Konnikova about her new book, "The Confidence Game: Why We Fall For It...Every Time," which she was inspired to write after watching another one of my favorites, David Mamet's "House Of Games." As we discussed her study of decades of con artistry, I asked her about:
- Whether she's ever been conned, and whether she'd even know it if she had;
- Why they're called "Confidence Games";
- Bernie Madoff, subject of a movie that aired this week on ABC;
- Frank Abagnale's contention that technology has made it easier to be a con artist;
- Why some victims have fallen for the same con twice;
- How most frauds never come to light and are never prosecuted;
- The story of Aunt Nancy, the professional wedding imposter who could have inspired the movie "Wedding Crashers."