Developing a Smoke Screen: Tactics That Disguise Criminal Advances

  • James F. KennyEmail author


Once aggressors and fraudsters have gained access to their targets, they are now ready to advance. As they prepare for assault, they can conceal their intentions by utilizing tactics that distract or divert their targets’ attention. These strategies help shift attention away from what is happening to some random issues, preventing the targets from setting up their defenses. While these aggressors would prefer to be trusted, they will settle for reducing their targets’ suspicion and increasing their level of confusion. Tactics that criminals use to disguise dangerous advances and confuse their targets may include offering numerous details, stereotyping, blaming, laying guilt, playing the role of a victim, shaming, or claiming to help others.


  1. Amir, M. (1971). Patterns of forcible rape. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  2. Charity Navigator. (2018). Retrieved May 27, 2018 from
  3. Charity Watch. (2018). Retrieved May 31, 2018 from
  4. De Becker, G. (1997). The gift of fear: Survival signals that protect us from violence. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.Google Scholar
  5. Enron Annual Report 2000. (2001). Retrieved March 12, 2019 from
  6. Federal Trade Commission. (2018). Retrieved May 27, 2018 from
  7. Franklin, C., & Franklin, A. (1976). Victimology revisited: A critique and suggestions for future direction. Criminology, 14, 177–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Friedrichs, D. (2010). Trusted criminals: White collar crime in contemporary society. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.Google Scholar
  9. Gilligan, J. (1997). Violence: Reflections on a national epidemic. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  10. Hickey, E. (2013). Serial murderers and their victims. Belmont, CA: Thompson Wadsworth.Google Scholar
  11. Leggett, M., & Schwartz, M. (1996). The aftermath of campus sexual assault. Paper presented at the annual meetings of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, Las Vegas, NV.Google Scholar
  12. Matza, D. (1964). Delinquency and drift. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  13. Morin, A. (2019). 5 Reasons people share way too many details of their personal lives. Inc.Com. Retrieved March 12, 2019 from
  14. Namie, G., & Namie, R. (2003). The bully at work. What you can do to stop the hurt and reclaim your dignity on the job. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks Inc.Google Scholar
  15. O’Toole, M., & Bowman, A. (2012). Dangerous instincts: Use an FBI profiler’s tactics to avoid unsafe situations. New York: Plume.Google Scholar
  16. Peled, E., Jaffe, P., & Edleson, J. (1995). Ending the cycle of violence: Community responses to children of battered women. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network [RAINN]. (2019). If you suspect a child is being harmed. Retrieved March 13, 2019 from
  18. Schreier, L. (2007). Confessions of a time-share salesperson. Retrieved March 13, 2019 from
  19. Schwartz, M., & DeKeseredy, W. (1997). Sexual assault on the college campus. The role of male peer support. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing.Google Scholar
  20. Schwendinger, J., & Schwendinger, H. (1974). Rape myths: In legal, theoretical, and everyday practices. Crime and Social Justice, 1, 18–26.Google Scholar
  21. Simon, G. (1996). In Sheep’s clothing: Understanding and dealing with manipulative people. Little Rock, AK: A. J. Christopher & Company.Google Scholar
  22. Walker, L. (1979). The battered woman. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fairleigh Dickinson UniversityTeaneckUSA

Personalised recommendations