Enticing the Target: Tactics That Fabricate Trust and Reduce Suspicion

  • James F. KennyEmail author


Once the targets have passed the selection stage, the aggressors may take steps to prepare for potential attacks. They expect that their targets may attempt to keep a safe distance when strangers or little-known acquaintances suddenly approach them. For the attack to be successful, the aggressors need to draw their targets close to them or keep them at a striking distance. Initially, they may employ subtle tactics that entice their targets by building a rapport with them or attempting to minimize their concerns. Many aggressors believe that people just need a good reason to discount uneasy feelings. They count on their targets feeling guilty about forming negative judgments of others. Some common tactics that are used to build trust and minimize suspicion are using charm, creating goodwill, fabricating relationships, doing small favors, offering unsolicited promises, minimizing risks, or appealing to the targets’ egos.


  1. Banks, D., & Kychelhahn, T. (2011). Characteristics of suspected human trafficking incidents. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.Google Scholar
  2. Berman, K., & Knight, J. (2009). What did Bernard Madoff do? Harvard Business Review. Retrieved March 7, 2019 from
  3. Bullock, A. (1971). Hitler: A study in tyranny. New York: Harper & Row Publishers.Google Scholar
  4. Carlson, M. (1989). $1 billion worth of influence. Time (November 6): 27–28.Google Scholar
  5. Carnegie, D. (2009). How to win friends and influence people. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  6. Cialdini, R. (2007). Influence: The psychology of persuasion. New York: Collins Business.Google Scholar
  7. De Becker, G. (1997). The gift of fear: Survival signals that protect us from violence. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company.Google Scholar
  8. Deutch, L. (1995). OJ vows to find killers. Associated Press, October 4, 1995. Retrieved March 2, 2019 from
  9. Effron, L., Pararella, A., & Taudte, J. (2019). The scandals that brought down the Bakkers, once among US’s most famous televangelists. ABC News, January 17, 2019. Retrieved March 10, 2019 from
  10. Ekman, P., & Friesen, W. (2003). Unmasking the face: A guide to recognizing emotions from facial expressions. Cambridge, MA: Malor Books.Google Scholar
  11. Emswiller, T., Deaux, K., & Willits, J. (1971). Similarity, sex, and requests for small favors. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 1(1), 284–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fletcher, E. (2019). Romance scams rank number one on total reported losses. Federal Trade Commission. Retrieved March 4, 2019 from
  13. Francevilla, W. (2018). Of course you are too smart to be scammed. Think again. Retrieved March 7, 2019 from
  14. Friedrichs, D. (2010). Trusted criminals: White collar crime in contemporary society. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.Google Scholar
  15. Hickey, E. (2013). Serial murderers and their victims. Belmont, CA: Thompson Wadsworth.Google Scholar
  16. Lieberman, D. (2000). Get anyone to do anything. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin.Google Scholar
  17. McLaughlin, E. (2019). Manson family murderer recommended for parole in 22nd attempt. CNN. Retrieved March 4, 2019 from
  18. Muti, R., & Buckley, C. (2012). The charmer: The true story of Robert Reldan – Rapist, murder, and millionaire – And the women who fell victim to his allure. Green Bay, WI: Title Town Publishing.Google Scholar
  19. O’Connor, J., & Seymour, J. (2002). Introducing NLP: Psychological skills for understanding and influencing people. London: Element.Google Scholar
  20. Pease, A., & Pease, B. (2004). The definitive book of body language. New York: Bantam Books.Google Scholar
  21. Polaris Project. (2019a). Labor trafficking. Retrieved March 7, 2019 from
  22. Polaris Project. (2019b). Sex trafficking. Retrieved March 7, 2019 from
  23. Simon, G. (1996). In sheep’s clothing: Understanding and dealing with manipulative people. Little Rock, AR: A. J. Christopher & Company.Google Scholar
  24. Thompson, G., & Jenkins, J. (1993). Verbal judo: The gentle art of persuasion. New York: Quill.Google Scholar
  25. Walker, L. (1979). The battered woman. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fairleigh Dickinson UniversityTeaneckUSA

Personalised recommendations