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The Sting

by Paul R. Lees-Haley

About the Author: Award-winning author Paul Lees-Haley has previously published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, The Alabama Writers Conclave’s Alalitcom, Voices, G/C/T, Hypertrophic Literary, CoEvolution Quarterly, Trial, Spectrum, and numerous psychological and legal journals and magazines.


It’s not like I’m a criminal. Originally I intended to write a newspaper article. But while turning over ideas for a story, I researched expressions like “clever crimes” and “smooth cons” on the Internet and stumbled onto methods too promising to ignore.

Then I discovered the statistics on the billions of dollars stolen from the elderly – cons accomplished with nothing more than a few emails and phone calls. I guess all that money and how easy it seemed added up to more temptation than even an honest man could resist.

No, I wouldn’t rob a destitute geezer. I’m not a bad person.

So I decided to target wealthy senior citizens who could afford me. And not simply old ones – no, I focused on those who couldn’t think straight. If you have grandparents or aging parents you love, you should investigate what they’re doing online. It’s astonishing how easy it is to log on to help blogs for patients with incipient Alzheimer’s or dementia or cognitive decline, and figure out the identities of the participants. And it’s fiendishly simple to determine the best prospects.

Who needs hacker expertise for identity theft? The cognitively impaired are exactly the folks who give away the wrong information. Heck, they hand out clues and details of their personal lives like party favors. Some of them use their full names, and mention their ages or home towns or where they went to school. Some name their husbands or wives or partners, and children and other family members who are visible on Facebook or LinkedIn or community and church websites.

Story Comments

Apr 11 - Nancy Covert

Admirably written. Love twists!

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