8 Signs You're Dealing With A Crook

Crooks can go far in life. Sometimes, all the way to the White House. The glory of humanity is that we are trusting. We believe what people tell us. Crooks play on this. They tell you lies to your face with all the appearance of sincerity. They may actually believe what they're saying, at the time.

Then comes the heartache. The invoices unpaid, the deadlines unmet, the time wasted on what is now revealed as folly.

Alas, one can't just go 'round to their abode and beat them with a stick. There are laws, but they can be expensive to enforce. The best way is to avoid these people altogether.

Here are a few tips on what to look out for:

1. Excessive And Immoral Behaviour

Let's call our nemesis Jack Delad. Jack regales you with tales of the ladies he's dallied with, the drugs he's taken, the fights he's had. He's loads of fun in the pub. He spends big and drives a flash motor. He has a bit too much bling for a man who's in trade.

He probably carries these behaviours into his business. He's told you he's a wide-boy. So why are you giving him £5k up-front to rewire your flat? The odds are good you'll be his next victim.

2. Dodgy Friends Or Family

You can tell a man by the company he keeps. Like calls to like. Crooks aren't comfortable around good people. They disdain them. They find them boring.

Jack seems a hell of a guy (especially if you're an introvert yourself). But, do you want him involving his shady friends or family in your business?

Honest Joe has a horror of having the cops come 'round. For Jack Delad, it's just another Saturday night.

3. Disassociates Himself From Business Realities

He's charming. He uses words like "fantastic" or "amazing" when they're not appropriate. He avoids face-to-face conversations. He talks about "the company" and "the business" instead of using "I". He avoids the issues, in speech and action.

These are all ways of making it easier to avoid the hammer coming down. He's telling lies and distancing himself from any pangs of conscience, or consequences.

4. He's A Huge Egoist

Most people lack confidence. They seek approval from others. Not Jack Delad.

He's super-sure and carries the team with him. A natural extrovert, he's found a behaviour that works to get him what he wants. He's not held back by the doubts and scruples that affect Honest Joes. This has worked well for years. He's had some big wins. Thus, he's come to believe his own publicity. Certainty is attractive to others, as most people are naturally cautious.

Thus, he can rise to the top and then, run out of road, taking the whole company down with him.

5. He Can Be A Bit TOO Creative

If Jacky-boy is starting to bend the law to get the job done, it's time to walk away. Megalomaniacs think they're above petty moral concerns. No one has thrown a net over him so far, so why should he restrain himself now?

At this point, exit Honest Joe, if he's smart, because what happens next won't be pretty.

6. Wants An Abnormally Large Deposit, In Cash, Upfront

Jack may believe he's going to do the job for you, but that wad is too tempting. He starts the job, blow the lot, leaves the site a mess and then won't return your calls.

7. Constant Missed Deadlines

Jobs can be complicated. Unforeseen circumstances arise. Still, the mark of a good worker is: he keeps his word. An honest man does what he says he will do. A smart man knows that reputation is gold.

A crook, on the other hand, will already be thinking about how he can do a bunk, even when he's shaking hands on a deal. This is why a schedule of payments is important. Deadline missed = no more money for Jack.

8. Won't Return Your Calls

Silence is an answer in itself. He's not interested any more. Don't keep calling if you've got no leverage on him. Salvage what you can and move on.

Most people have an instinct about danger. It kept our forefathers from being a nice meal for mountain lions. If you have worries in the back of your head and a cold feeling in your gut, now is probably a good time do to damage limitation with your Jack Delad. Or, if you're in the early stages of a deal, just walk away.

It's a big world and there are many Honest Joes out there who'd make better business partners.

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