It’s Time To Ring Fence Yourself From Being Conned – Story #1.

by Patrick Liew on July 19, 2018

It’s Time To Ring Fence Yourself From Being Conned – Story #1.

Have you ever met a very smart con man before? I have.

In fact, I have the dishonor and displeasure to meet many of them.

Let me share one of them with you.

In 1986, I met Tom (not his real name) in an exhibition.

He was charismatic, full of life, and a really smooth talker.

A quintessential con man you would say but it did not occur to me at that point.

Tom and I struck it off right from the beginning. Or was it that Tom knew how to hit the right note with me?

We shared many things in common and after a short while, there was a great sense of bonding.

Without quite realizing it, I seemed to have assumed the role of Tom’s big brother.

I felt like I had to look out for and after him.

Once, Tom told me about how he was abused while serving in a religious organization.

Since I knew a key leader in that organization, I actually called that person to give him a piece of my mind.

It was more like a piece of my distorted mind.

Sadly, the leader did not respond to my complaint.

He must have thought it better to keep the damning truth to himself.

I wished he had revealed what he knew about Tom to me. It would have saved me a lot of time, energy, money and more.

Shortly after, Tom managed to find a job as a Marketing Manager in a large enterprise.

Although he had no relevant qualification and experience, he managed to talk himself into the job.

How did he manage to do it?

Until today, I still could not figure it out.

Tom confessed to me that he had no clue as to how to run a marketing operation.

If I tell you what I did for him, you will think I am really stupid and silly but I will tell you anyway.

I virtually taught Tom how to manage the marketing department on a day to day basis.

I even wrote a word-by-word script so that he could motivate his subordinates during a staff retreat.

I was doing all that for Tom but, without realizing it, I was also indirectly helping my competitor.

Tom was sharing some of the information with my competitors.

I was strengthening my competitors while, at the same time, putting my business at risk.

And if you think that was dumb – there’s more.

Tom told me a ‘sob sob’ story about his personal assistant.

What a nice person she was and the difficulties she was going through in life.

Tom felt she could do well in life if only she was given a chance to further her studies.

“If only I have the money,” Tom said, “I will finance her education. I will even take up a loan because it’s really worth it.”

The foolish side of me has moved once again.

Yes, I loaned him the money.

Much later, I met the personal assistant and asked about my money.

You would never believe how she laughed right into my face.

The money was gone. And so was part of my heart.

I questioned my intelligence and became skeptical about people for a while.

Truth be told, that was still not dumb enough.

I will confess to you my ultimate foolishness.

Not too long after starting on his job, Tom was sacked.

And, boy! what a story he told me about how he was being victimized by the bosses.

That started a personal campaign to bring about justice for Tom.

I would be too embarrassed to tell you the number of investments, including emotion that I poured into putting up a case for him.

I even hired a professional to investigate the company. I wanted to dig out the “dirt” and strengthen my case for him.

To cut a long story short, I eventually saw the real Tom.

After that, we went our separate ways.

For a while, I blamed myself for being taken for a long ride and strengthening his confidence for conning people.

My greatest regret was not being able to show him the right path.

I prayed he would wake up from his wrongdoing and correct himself.

Unfortunately, he never did.

I was told he went on to create even more and bigger problems and damages.

Now, you would think I have learned my lesson.

I wish this love note has a fairy tale ending.


I went on in my life and was conned a few more times – not just by con men who looked and behaved like con men.

Mainly, I was cheated by people who didn’t even know they were cheating others.

They were committing what I called a “half-a-con” job which is more evil than a con job.

For example, these people would come to me with a perfectly legitimate proposal.

After I have invested my time, money, and effort, they would shortly disappear.

They took my hard earned money and left me with more than a broken heart.

Many of them would even put a knife behind my back.

There is a verse in the Bible that I kept in my heart.

In fact, all of us should learn from it regardless of whether we are Christians or not.

“Beware of wolves in sheep’s skin. Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” (Mt 10:16)

You have been forewarned.



I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

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