A crow thieves; a fox cheats; a weasel outwits; a man diddles. To diddle is his destiny. “Man was made to mourn,” says the poet. But not so — he was made to diddle. This is his aim — his object — his end. And for this reason when a man’s diddled we say he’s done.
—Edgar Allan Poe
The grift has a gentle touch. It takes a its toll from the verdant sucker by means of the skilled hand or the sharp wit. In this, it differs from all other forms of crime, and especially from the heavy rackets. It never employs violence to separate the mark from his money. Of all the grifters, the confidence man is the aristocrat.
Although the confidence man is sometimes classed with professional thieves, pickpockets, and gamblers, he is really not a thief at all because he does no actual stealing. The trusting victim literally thrusts a fat bank roll into his hands. It is a point of pride with him that he does not have to steal.
by David W. Maurer
“You can’t con an honest man.”
— Old Grifter saying