Some of 2022’s most discussed topics include scammers and con artists, and I can’t stop watching documentaries, movies, and series about them. As mentioned in a Vulture article from February, The Grifters Have Come for Your TV, It’s scammin’ season. Also from Vulture, “Scamming is so hot right now. The confidence arts have been lighting up Hollywood, and networks and streamers are practically overflowing with content about grifters, fraudsters, and gougers. This year alone, scam-hungry viewers have been served Inventing Anna, The Tinder Swindler, WeCrashed, Super Pumped: The Battle For Uber, The Dropout, Worst Roommate Ever, Bad Vegan, and The Thing About Pam.”
If you share my interest in scammers, read about the different ways you can feed your obsession.
Many scam-based shows released this year are based on actual people, including Inventing Anna, WeCrashed, Super Pumped, and The Dropout. There were also several documentaries and docuseries released in 2022, including The Tinder Swindler, Bad Vegan, The Worst Roommate Ever, Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King, Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies, and the Internet, and The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman. From Marie Claire, The 22 Best True Crime Documentaries and Series of 2022 (So Far), “For 2022, it’s all about scams, as the stories of crimes that caught our attention years ago (the Summer of Scam, anyone?) are fleshed out into series, laying out everything we now know about what went down.”
From PopSugar, Take a Wild Ride With These 20 Scam Documentaries, “The true-crime era has taken an interesting turn: scammers. While the morbid fascination with murder documentaries might never fizzle out, our interest in those who steal, lie, and cheat has skyrocketed over the years. Whether it’s Elizabeth Holmes shamelessly promoting a blood machine that does less than she claims or Billy McFarland putting together a not-so-luxurious music festival, it’s a wild world out there when you don’t quite know who you can trust.“
I discovered another 10-episode documentary series while researching for this post called Generation Hustle. From HBO, “Generation Hustle How far would you go for power, fame and fortune? Generation Hustle features outrageous and high-stakes new stories about brilliant and brazen young individuals, some of whom go too far by pulling off the most wildly inventive scams of our time. Showcasing ripped-from-the-headlines stories of unabashed ambition, this shocking and sometimes comic docuseries explores the no-holds-barred quest for riches and status in the age of social media.”
Movies and television shows about scammers and con artists have existed for many years. “Like actors and movie-makers, con artists tell stories and create illusions. That’s why swindlers and their brazen schemes are the perfect fodder for the big screen. The characters are brash and larger than life (swindling aficionado David Maurer dubbed them “the aristocrats of crime”). The tales are tall, the plots intricate and absorbing. And the audience is never sure who—if anyone—is telling the truth.” From CrimeReads, 10 OF THE GREATEST CON ARTIST MOVIES OF ALL-TIME. The list includes The Sting and American Hustle. Some con artist movies are based on actual events, and some are just fun fictional scam stories, including Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and all the Ocean’s movies.
Here’s another list from MovieWeb, Here Are Some of the Best Movies About Con Artists. “There’s something captivating about tales depicting suave and slick con artists who manage to execute calculating and thrilling schemes“
From Bustle, 11 Movies About Scams & Con Artists That Are Based On Astounding Real-Life Stories, “Scams are all the rage these days. Whether it’s watching one of the two competing Fyre Festival documentaries on Netflix or Hulu or tweeting about how every new scam making headlines needs to be made into movies, people can’t get enough.”
“You never really know someone…especially online. In today’s world, the power of influence can be the quickest path to money and fame, and it often ends in ruin. These are the stories of the world’s most insidious Scamfluencers. And we are their prey. On Wondery’s new weekly series, join co-hosts Scaachi Koul and Sarah Hagi as they unpack epic stories of deception from the worlds of social media, fashion, finance, health, and wellness.“
Read about it in Nylon, SCAMFLUENCERS IS THE PODCAST FOR SCAMMER OBSESSIVES
“Lucky Armstrong is a tough, talented grifter who has just pulled off a million-dollar heist with her boyfriend, Cary. She’s ready to start a brand-new life, with a new identity–when things go sideways. Lucky finds herself alone for the first time, navigating the world without the help of either her father or her boyfriend, the two figures from whom she’s learned the art of the scam.“
“For fans of Hustlers and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, the story of two Asian American women who band together to grow a counterfeit handbag scheme into a global enterprise–an incisive and glittering blend of fashion, crime, and friendship from the author of Bury What We Cannot Take and Soy Sauce for Beginners.“