The Grift

When we hear about confidence games, we think, “never me.” Welcome to The Grift, a show about con artists and the lives they ruin. Best-selling author and New Yorker writer Maria Konnikova takes us to the darker side of human nature and deceit. Ten stories about card sharks, cult leaders, art forgers, impostors, and more. Why do we fall for them time and time again?

Society & Culture
Introducing Empire on Blood
4 min
The Grift Presents: Family Ghosts
When Nick's grandfather died in 1994, something bizarre happened: his aunt Susan stole the body and hid it.
55 min
The Greatest Impostor
Ferdinand Demara is quite possibly the greatest con artist you’ve never heard of.
36 min
Crooked Carnival
This week, we go inside the world of carnival game scams, why we fall for them even when we know the odds are against us.
29 min
Psychic Faith
A fraud is lurking on most every block of most every city and town, all over the world: the psychic.
29 min
For a Small Investment...
Oscar Hartzell, born to humble beginnings, would go on to craft one of the most elaborate and successful mail fraud cons of all time.
30 min
The One Who Almost Got Away
Sam Israel not only ran one of the most successful Ponzi schemes in history, he would eventually go on to the single most extreme con there is.
28 min
Loving a Lie
Maria talks with the Atlantic’s Emily Yoffe about the most common grift of them all: the sweetheart scam.
28 min
The Religion of the Black Dog
A small secretive cult was started in the 1970s and operated out of New Jersey for decades without notice.
41 min
The Self-Made Heiress
Cassie Chadwick was one of the most famous, or infamous, seductresses of the Gilded Age.
30 min
Genuine Fake
The only thing Ken Perenyi loved as much as art was swindling the art world.
38 min
Fast Jack, the Card Shark
“Fast Jack” Farrell is one of the greatest card and dice manipulators of the twentieth century.
33 min
Introducing: The Grift
Coming soon from Panoply and Maria Konnikova, The Grift: stories about con artists and the lives they ruin.
2 min