Catfish, con artists, and opportunists going beyond a cash grab: 10 podcasts to stream if you’ve already binged ‘Sympathy Pains’

Society & Culture May 18, 2022

Some people will do whatever they can to get whatever they want, like in iHeartPodcasts’ “Sympathy Pains,” a 6-part series about Sarah Delashmit, a con artist who fed on victims’ sympathy and seemingly went beyond cash motivations. If you’ve already streamed all 6 episodes and are looking for more podcasts like “Sympathy Pains” dealing with psychological manipulation, opportunism, and people living (and believing) their lies, we’ve rounded up several other podcasts you might want to check out.

On our list, there are disturbing stories, people assuming alternate identities, a catfish situation, and more folks who left trails of destruction in their wake. Okay, some of these people are indeed up to schemes for cash, but there’s a lot more to their complex motivations.

Tune in for harrowing tales of misleading and deceptive behavior, crimes, and startling revelations that forever changed people’s lives. Many of these podcasts like to provide safe spaces for people to share their experiences firsthand and raise awareness.

This is Actually Happening podcast art

This is Actually Happening

Listen to ‘This is Actually Happening’

Wondery’s “This is Actually Happening” tells true stories of life-changing events. For example, hear about a man who learns his celeb crush isn’t who she says she is. There are stories of betrayal, trauma, identity crises, gaslighting, obsessions, and more. Check out the podcast’s archive of over 250 episodes since 2012.

Something Was Wrong podcast art

Something Was Wrong

Listen to ‘Something Was Wrong’

Wondery’s “Something Was Wrong” is a true crime docuseries all about abusive relationships, life events, traumas, and horrifying discoveries. Victims share firsthand accounts of what they’ve experienced and expose the red flags that led to finding out that things were very, very wrong. Hear stories about con artists, liars, manipulators, abusers, and more in over 120 episodes, hosted by Tiffany Reese.

Chameleon: Wild Boys podcast art

Chameleon: Wild Boys

Listen to ‘Chameleon: Wild Boys’

“Chameleon” covers a different con artist each season. In “Wild Boys,” hear the bizarre story of brothers Will and Tom Green who emerged from the woods in 2003 and were not who they said they were. This season is hosted by Sam Mullins.

Season 1 tracked down the “Hollywood Con Queen,” a scammer targeting Hollywood hopefuls, draining their wallets, and shooting down their dreams. Season 2 headed to Las Vegas for “Chameleon: High Rollers” to explore an undercover FBI investigation of a diet clinic.

Pretend podcast art

Pretend – a true crime documentary podcast

Listen to ‘Pretend – a true crime documentary podcast’

From Creative Babble comes “Pretend – a true crime documentary podcast.” Hear interviews with con artists, liars, thieves, undercover FBI officials, snake oil salespeople, and more in over 100 episodes, hosted by Javier Leiva.

The Opportunist podcast art

The Opportunist

Listen to ‘The Opportunist’

Kast Media’s “The Opportunist” shares stories of people seizing the moment and suddenly turning sinister. Hosted by Hannah Smith, multi-part narrative episodes explore the darkness lurking inside everyday people. Hear about Sherry Shriner’s YouTube cult, Community Recovery Los Angeles’ founder Chris Bathum, serial scammer Candace Clark, and more opportunists in over 30 episodes.

What Was That Like podcast art

What Was That Like

Listen to ‘What Was That Like’

Host Scott Johnson wants to know “What Was That Like” and speaks with one guest each episode. Tune in for stories like surviving a mass shooting, getting kidnapped, being held hostage, surprise DNA test results, and more stories.

The Shrink Next Door podcast art

The Shrink Next Door

Listen to ‘The Shrink Next Door’

Wondery’s “The Shrink Next Door” was recently adapted for TV, based on veteran journalist Joe Nocera’s reporting. In the Hamptons, Joe lived next door to Ike Herschkopf, a therapist claiming to serve celebrities and Manhattan’s elite. Hear how Ike abused his power, manipulated his clients, commandeered their lives, and swindled them out of money. Some of Ike’s former clients appear in the series and share their real life horror stories.

Who the Hell is Hamish? podcast art

Who the Hell is Hamish?

Listen to ‘Who the Hell is Hamish?’

Hamish Watson was a career chameleon, morphing into a variety of identities to suit his agenda. In 2019, he was sentenced to jail for conning victims out of $7 million+, but these are just a handful of crimes he’s committed in the US, Australia, Hong Kong, Canada, and Britain. This series attempts to answer how he got away with crimes for so long, what he used the money for, and why he was so good at the con. “Who the Hell is Hamish?” is presented by The Australian.

Sweet Bobby podcast art

Sweet Bobby

Listen to ‘Sweet Bobby’

Successful radio personality Kirat met Bobby, a cardiologist, on Facebook. Listeners are brought through the web of deception and manipulation, as we learn she was catfished for years by someone you’d never guess. Tune into this 6-part series to hear Kirat’s story and search for the catfisher in Tortoise Media’s “Sweet Bobby.”

Do You Know Mordechai? podcast art

Do You Know Mordechai?

Listen to ‘Do You Know Mordechai?’

UCP Audio presents “Do You Know Mordechai?” Kathleen Goldhar’s friend, Arya, found a partner named Mordechai Horowitz. After a terrible divorce, Kathleen was happy for her friend, yet began uncovering truths about Mordechai’s “perfect” life as investigated on the podcast. Kathleen hosts this series and even traveled to LA to find this dude and learn about his real identity.

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