A guy by the name of Johnathan Walton fell victim to a scam in 2017 by someone who had gotten close to him, that he believed to be a close friend, and the scammer took him for a whole $92,000. He's now spreading the word on things he wished he'd picked up on.

"In 2017, I became the victim of a professional con artist, a woman named “Mair Smyth,” who very quickly burrowed deep into my psyche and systematically scammed me out of almost $100,000 using a sophisticated series of confidence tricks," Walton wrote in the Huffington Post.

Dwyer & Michaels Talk With Johnathon Walton:

Now, we're all thinking, a woman comes into your life promising sex as long as you cover some expenses, nothing too crazy here?

"I’m a gay man, so she couldn’t use sex to ensnare me. Her lures were much more creative and sinister," he wrote. "I was actually charmed into submission by a charismatic, exciting woman who injected herself into my life and became my best friend for four years. But in reality, she was an international con artist on the run from the authorities and hiding out in my apartment building."

So, after realizing he'd lost his money, he devoted the next two and a half years chasing down "Mair" to bring her to justice, and in the process, found she had 45 other victims, who she'd tricked out of more than $1 million.

Now, his podcast, "Queen of the Con: The Irish Heiress," is inspiring others to ask for help bringing their own scammers to justice.

Jonathan likes to share a few simple tips to help others not fall victim to a scam in the way he did, and they're easy red flags to watch for.

1. They're Too Nice, Too Fast

You meet someone new, and they're offering to pay for stuff, they're giving you gifts for no reason. If they sound too good to be true, they might be. The con artist's first step is to become your friend and gain your trust. That way, you'll do things you wouldn't do for a total stranger.

2. They Think They're Better

Johnathon says con artists, are narcissists. They tell you how amazing they are, how much they've accomplished.

He wrote in Huff Post, "My con artist, who worked for a luxury travel agency in Los Angeles, used to tell me that she was the No. 1 seller in the United States of vacations to the Pacific Islands. She claimed that the president of French Polynesia would fly her out every couple months to inspect all their five-star hotels to make sure they were up to snuff. None of that was true."

3. They Are Full of Drama

Bad things happen to everyone - some people have cancer, some people have children who pass away suddenly, and some people have family members who have it out for them. But Johnathon says, they don't happen to someone all at once, unless they're a con artist who is making all of it up.

"They use them to suck you into their craziness and exploit your kindness and good nature," he wrote. "If there’s a new person in your life broadcasting a steady stream of soap opera-esque drama, change the channel."

4. Isolation

For a con artist to successfully scam you, they need to get you away from others who can point out the flaws of their con.

"My con artist tricked me into believing my neighbor was a criminal on the run from authorities in Canada," Johnathon said. "So I avoided her like the plague. She then convinced my neighbor that I was mentally ill. So my neighbor avoided me. My con artist scammed us both using different stories and we were none the wiser until well after the money exchanged hands."

5. Beak Wetting

In a lot of scams, the con artist will give you a little bit of money upfront. For example, his scammer paid him back the first $4,200 he gave her the very next day. It's a way of boosting confidence so that next time, you'll think they're good for returning the money.


Consider this quote from Johnathon's Huff Post Op-Ed, which sums up all of the red flags.

"The term “con artist” is short for “confidence artist” because these individuals gain the complete and utter confidence of their victims ― and then weaponize it against them."

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Read more about Johnathon's story and see more tips at Huffington Post

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