Maxim: How To Spot Bullshitters.

I’ve lived in Cambodia for close to ten years, and there are plenty of strange people and scammers there. Right now I am writing this from Panama, and there are also quite a few interesting characters here as well.

Over the years, I’ve spotted some common patterns to tell if someone is a serious individual worthy of my time, especially with regards to business dealings, or whether I am dealing with a scammer or a waste of time.

The very first point is that people who are legitimate, tend to be able to easily explain who they are and what they do. They won’t have complex-sounding schemes or have had highly-improbably things happen to them that places them just in the right position for the next deal.

You can easily understand why they are doing what they do, and how they manage to add value. There is always a red flag for me if I cannot understand how someone earns money — because it is then quite difficult to understand their motivations.

So, avoid people who indulge in complexity, as they are probably using that as a mask to hide their real goals.

There is one small thing — I’ve never dealt with anyone who is legitimate who does not capitalize their first and last name in email and forms. While this is a strange signal, it probably just shows a lack of attention to detail.

Strange website domains or really bad websites can also be a red flag, as well as general disorganization and delays in communication.

I’m also skeptical of people who become overly friendly very quickly and want to try and just do any type of business together. This is strange because I ask myself…”why me?”.

Another thing to look out for is lifestyle inflation. If they are trying to project a specific lifestyle that they cannot afford, they might be wearing fake watches or being slow to split the tab at a bar or a restaurant, things like that.

Or, being overly concerned with the prices of things although they claim to be multi-millionaires.

Clothing is also an area that can be revealing — oh what a great pun 😉

Someone who is well off does not necessarily require brand items, they should be dressed in a neat manner. If you see obviously cheap or shabby clothing, perhaps with one or two branded items, this often can hint at lifestyle inflation. The person may have spent some of their money on a really nice jacket to look the part, but they couldn’t afford the shoes to go with it.

So I guess this maxim could be summarized as such:

If things don’t quite add up, they likely won’t add up.

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