Chancers have taken centre stage with the release of Netflix’s Inventing Anna and the Tinder Swindler. Extiquette expert Lucy Challender reveals the things to look out for if you’re conerned you could be getting conned.
For the last few years con artists have been taking over the true crime genre, from dramas and documentaries to podcasts and books, with fans gripped by shocking tales of complex and long-running scams. Running concurrently in the top spots on Netflix are The Tinder Swindler, the story of Shimon Hayut who conned innocent women into funding his lifestyle of private jets, suites at the Four Seasons and model girlfriends. And Inventing Anna about New York’s fake German heiress, Anna Sorokin, who infiltrated some of the city’s most elite social circles.
We’ve all read the famous Proverb: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised (Proverbs 31:30).” We all like to think we can abide by this instruction without issue, but in reality - we can go off track and get sucked in by the charm of calculated people. Hopefully this won’t end in being conned out of heart and home but, in case you’re worried, Lucy Challenger has some tips for you.
Over the years, Lucy, an etiquette expert and founder of elite domestic recruitment company Polo & Tweed, learned much about the social codes of this exclusive set, which is why she is certain she would be able to spot a fake heir or heiress if she saw one…
Here are Lucy’s seven deadly signs of a faker:
- Ostentatious Wardrobe - all garishly displayed designer brands and logos scream new money. Think of Prince Charles in a beautifully tailored suit that he’s owned for years at a wedding at the opposite end of the spectrum.
- Behaviour - always ordering the most expensive item on the menu definitely suggests someone is trying to “prove” they have money. We see new money and certain cultures being more over the top with their wealth (take a footballer for example), so it doesn’t mean it’s a lie, it just means that they don’t have much “class”.
- New Friends - do they seem to have new friends each time you see them? It’s more typical with wealth that people have a smaller group of friends, as they keep those whom they trust closer and typically only hang out with smaller groups. If they constantly have new acquaintances around them, an alarm bell should ring. Social climbing is the ultimate red flag.
- Body Language - how do they behave in polite society? Do they know how to eat in a formal environment? This etiquette would have been learnt due to an expectation to behave in public through years of private school, dinner parties and restaurants where they were expected to “behave”.
- Talking About Money and Over-spending - do they share too much information? People with genuine wealth, inherited or earned, will generally not talk openly about money. They tend to be more subtle. Etiquette dictates that talking about money is vulgar and unnecessary. The Tinder Swindler for example spent the money as soon as he had it, he didn’t invest it.
- Lack of Privacy/Social Media - doing things just to show off on social media. Fakers will often flaunt their luxury lifestyle – whether it’s flying in private jets or getting their clutches on the latest designer handbag - to their followers.
- Dating - is it normal for someone with that sort of wealth to be on Tinder? Dating would be within tight-lipped social circles.