Confessions of a Teenage Fraudster (2024) Season 1 Review – An initially engaging crime doc that eventually robs us of our time


Season 1



Episode Guide

Episode 1 – 2.5/5
Episode 2 – 2/5
Episode 3 – 2/5

They say crime doesn’t pay. But try telling that to Elliot Castro, the subject of the new BBC docuseries, Confessions of a Teenage Fraudster.

This former conman from Glasgow lived the high life, travelling around the world at the expense of others. After leaving school at the age of 16 with no qualifications and few prospects, he got a job at a call centre selling mobile phones and realized there was money to be made from using his customers’ credit card information.

Elliot used the customer details he gathered to trick banks into sending him credit cards that he could use for his own gain. So, rather than being a Robin Hood figure who robbed the rich to help the needy – not that we’re saying all the people he scammed were rich – he funded a lavish lifestyle that included travel around the world and all the cars, jewellery, and fancy clothes that he was able to buy. 

The law caught up with Elliot – several times in fact. He served time for his crimes in various prisons but instead of learning from his mistakes, he used his time behind bars to plan the next devious scheme he would coordinate upon his release. 

The documentary is narrated by Elliot himself and he also talks to the camera about his crimes and his various run-ins with the law. Initially, what we hear is fascinating. How could a teenager from Scotland get away with what he did for so long? He tells us how with tales of his exploits and throws in a few surprise stories, such as the time he was called upon to help a woman on a train after using a credit card belonging to a doctor. 

But as the second and third episodes drag on, Elliot’s account of his crimes becomes a little boring. After hearing about yet another escapade in which he pretended to be somebody he wasn’t to secure the credit card details from another victim, there comes a point when we aren’t hearing anything particularly new.

This isn’t to say Elliot’s not an interesting character. We could imagine his life story being turned into a feature film – the British version of the Leonardo Di Caprio movie Catch Me If You Can perhaps. But in documentary format, spread over three 45-minute episodes that essentially contain the same messages – prison is bad, people are gullible, crime actually does pay – it gets a little tedious. 

Elliot isn’t the only person we hear from in the documentary. There is an interview with a detective who was determined to track him down and we hear from other law officials and people with experience of Elliot’s crimes. Unfortunately, there’s not a great deal of discussion on the methods the police used to catch him as too much time is spent on his various crimes. But at least we get a change of voice and face occasionally to distract us from the former con artist’s recollections of his criminal shenanigans. 

Elliot Castro is no longer a high-flying fraudster. Instead, he spends his time advising banks on how to protect themselves from people like his teenage self. An episode could have been devoted to this aspect of his life, with insight into how he uses his experiences as a former criminal to better serve society. Alas, there is very little discussion given over to his reformed life, so what we are left with is an initially engaging crime doc that runs for too long and robs us of our time. 


Read More: Where is Elliot Castro now?

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  • Verdict - 6/10

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