12 episodes

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?

The Grift Panoply

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.2 • 475 Ratings

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?

    The Grift Presents: Family Ghosts

    The Grift Presents: Family Ghosts

    The Grift presents an episode of another Panoply podcast we think our listeners will love: Family Ghosts.
    When Nick's grandfather died in 1994, something bizarre happened: his aunt Susan stole the body and hid it. Susan died shortly thereafter, and for the last twenty-three years, Nick and his family have agonized over his grandfather's whereabouts - but much to Nick's frustration, never enough to actually try and find him.
    This week, Nick asks "Family Ghosts" host Sam Dingman to see what he can do.
    Find us on Twitter and Instagram: @famghoshow.
    Join our mailing list, the Ghost Post: eepurl.com/c6qJIL.
    Thanks for listening!

    • 55 min
    The Greatest Impostor

    The Greatest Impostor

    Ferdinand Demara is quite possibly the greatest con artist you’ve never heard of. With good reason: he hardly ever used his own name. Demara was a professional impostor. In his long and prolific career, he passed himself off as a surgeon on a warship, an engineer, a college dean, a cancer researcher, a cop. And the list goes on. Demara operated for over fifty years, and impersonated at least fifty people, that we know of… and he got away with all of it.
    We hope you enjoyed the last episode of this season of The Grift! Let us know what you think of the show on social media and by leaving us a review in Apple Podcasts.
    twitter: @thegriftpodcast
    facebook: The Grift Podcast
    email: thegrift@megaphone.fm 

    • 40 min
    Crooked Carnival

    Crooked Carnival

    Peter Fenton made a career out of crafting that con we’ve all fallen for: the con of fantasy, of alternative realities that are much more pleasant than the existing one. 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. Later, Peter recounts his career as a tabloid fabulist. Peter Fenton is the essential grifter – he sells us the stories we most want to believe.

    • 33 min
    Psychic Faith

    Psychic Faith

    A fraud is lurking on most every block of most every city and town, all over the world: the psychic. When you’re down, when you’re alone, when you’re uncertain: that’s when you’re perfectly vulnerable to that old teller of the future, the person who offers you certainty and clarity and counsel and support when you most need it. The person who knows just how to take advantage of the basic human desire for control over our lives. They search for the perfect victim, work their way into her life, and gradually, take away everything. That’s what happened to Lyla. 

    • 32 min
    For a Small Investment...

    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. Pirates, lost treasure, the Wild West — it's the Spanish Prisoner, with a very English twist.

    • 33 min
    The One Who Almost Got Away

    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: the con of life and death. Who knows how often it happens? After all, its success stories are dead….or so we think. 

    • 32 min

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5
475 Ratings

475 Ratings

Sharon in Barcelona ,

Still hoping for season 2

I always enjoyed the stories of The Grift, and recently old episodes have been randomly popping back into my feed. Please bring more stories! Of course I’m giving the old shows are-listen when they come into my feed, but new shows would be much appreciated. Thanks!

Billy472747 ,

Wonderful stories, incredible characters

This podcast lies at the intersection of what you hope isn’t true and what you want to believe. The tales of grifting are akin to what Da Vinci did for inventions. There are certainly parts that are fanciful, but everything is rooted in truth. The trouble is that you can never tell what is an elaboration and what is historic. Thus making the intrigue all the greater.

BSharpe77 ,

Terrible Narration

I really want to enjoy this podcast, but the narration is very strange and unnatural. There is no natuaral rhythm or flow to the narration. Each sentence is read in a different rhythm and its difficult to get in to it. THe voice seems forced but pretending to be natural. Just weird. I can't.

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