Top 33 Slang For Fraudulent – Meaning & Usage

When it comes to navigating the murky waters of deceit and deception, understanding the slang for fraudulent activities can be a game-changer. From catfishing to phishing, our team has compiled a list of the most common terms used to describe shady dealings. Stay ahead of the curve and arm yourself with the knowledge to spot these tactics before they catch you off guard. Let’s dive into this list and decode the language of deception together!

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1. Scam

A scam refers to a fraudulent scheme or operation designed to deceive or cheat someone. It involves tricking individuals into giving up their money, personal information, or other valuable assets.

  • For example, “Beware of online shopping scams that promise huge discounts but never deliver the products.”
  • A common scam is the “Nigerian Prince scam,“Nigerian Prince scam,” where someone claims to be a wealthy individual seeking help to transfer a large sum of money.
  • Another popular scam is the “IRS scam,“IRS scam,” where scammers impersonate IRS agents and threaten individuals with legal action if they don’t pay a certain amount of money.

2. Con

A con is a short form of “confidence trick” and refers to any fraudulent scheme that aims to gain the trust of the victim. The con artist uses persuasion and manipulation to deceive individuals and convince them to part with their money or valuables.

  • For instance, “He fell victim to a con artist who convinced him to invest in a non-existent business.”
  • A classic con is the “Pigeon Drop,“Pigeon Drop,” where the con artist convinces the victim to put up their own money as a show of trust before disappearing with both the victim’s money and the initial sum.
  • Another example is the “Bank Examiner Scam,“Bank Examiner Scam,” where the con artist poses as a bank examiner and convinces the victim to withdraw money to help catch a dishonest bank employee.

3. Fraud

Fraud refers to any deliberate deception or misrepresentation with the intent of obtaining something, usually money or goods, dishonestly. It involves false statements, concealment of facts, or other deceitful practices.

  • For example, “He was charged with credit card fraud for using stolen credit card information to make unauthorized purchases.”
  • A common form of fraud is “identity theft,“identity theft,” where someone steals another person’s personal information to make fraudulent transactions or commit other crimes.
  • Another example is “insurance fraud,“insurance fraud,” where individuals make false claims or stage accidents to collect insurance money.

4. Swindle

To swindle means to deceive someone, usually out of money or valuables, through dishonest means. It involves using cunning or deceitful tactics to trick individuals into giving up something of value.

  • For instance, “He was swindled out of his life savings by a smooth-talking scam artist.”
  • A common swindle is the “Ponzi scheme,“Ponzi scheme,” where early investors are paid with the money from new investors, creating the illusion of high returns and attracting more victims.
  • Another example is the “pyramid scheme,“pyramid scheme,” where individuals are recruited to invest in a non-existent business and are promised high profits for recruiting more people into the scheme.

5. Hoax

A hoax refers to a deliberate deception or trick, usually intended to deceive a large number of people. It involves spreading false information or creating a false situation to fool others.

  • For example, “The news of a celebrity’s death turned out to be a hoax spread by online trolls.”
  • A famous hoax is the “Piltdown Man,“Piltdown Man,” where fragments of a skull and jawbone were presented as the missing link between humans and apes, but later revealed to be a carefully crafted forgery.
  • Another example is the “Crop Circle hoax,“Crop Circle hoax,” where intricate patterns are created in fields overnight, leading some to believe they were made by extraterrestrial beings.

6. Rip-off

This term refers to a fraudulent scheme or action that deceives or cheats someone out of their money or belongings. It implies that the person or business is overcharging or providing poor quality in exchange for the price paid.

  • For example, “I bought this designer handbag online, but it turned out to be a complete rip-off.”
  • A customer might complain, “The restaurant charged $20 for a cup of coffee! What a rip-off.”
  • Someone might warn a friend, “Be careful when buying electronics from that store. They’re known for selling rip-offs.”

7. Charlatan

This term refers to a person who pretends to have special knowledge or skills in order to deceive others. Charlatans often claim to be experts in a particular field or profession, but their claims are false or exaggerated.

  • For instance, “He claimed to be a medical expert, but he was exposed as a charlatan.”
  • In a discussion about fake psychics, someone might say, “Most of them are just charlatans trying to make money.”
  • A person warning others might say, “Don’t fall for his promises. He’s a charlatan who preys on vulnerable people.”

8. Snake oil salesman

This term refers to a person who sells fake or ineffective products, often claiming they have miraculous or magical properties. The term originates from the 19th-century practice of selling snake oil, a substance falsely claimed to cure various ailments.

  • For example, “He’s just a snake oil salesman trying to sell you a miracle cure.”
  • In a discussion about deceptive marketing, someone might say, “Don’t trust those infomercials. They’re full of snake oil salesmen.”
  • A person warning others might say, “Be wary of anyone claiming to have a secret potion. They’re probably just a snake oil salesman.”

9. Grift

This term refers to a scheme or action designed to deceive or defraud someone, often involving clever manipulation or trickery. It implies that the person is engaging in a dishonest and fraudulent activity for personal gain.

  • For instance, “He ran a grift pretending to be a wealthy investor, but it was all a scam.”
  • In a discussion about online scams, someone might say, “Be careful not to fall for any grifts or phishing attempts.”
  • A person recounting their experience might say, “I was the victim of a grift where they convinced me to invest in a fake business.”

10. Hustle

This term refers to engaging in dishonest or fraudulent activities to make money or gain an advantage. It implies that the person is using their wit, charm, or street smarts to deceive others.

  • For example, “He’s always hustling people out of their money with his get-rich-quick schemes.”
  • In a discussion about illegal activities, someone might say, “The city is cracking down on hustles and scams in the tourist areas.”
  • A person warning others might say, “Stay away from that guy. He’s known for his hustles and cons.”

11. Bamboozle

To bamboozle someone means to deceive or trick them in a cunning or deceitful manner. It is often used to describe situations where someone is fooled or misled.

  • For example, “He claimed to be a prince, but he was just trying to bamboozle us out of our money.”
  • In a discussion about scams, someone might say, “Don’t let them bamboozle you with their smooth talk.”
  • A person recounting a story of being tricked might say, “I can’t believe I let myself get bamboozled like that.”

12. Flimflam

Flimflam refers to deceptive or fraudulent behavior, often used to describe scams or cons. It is a colloquial term that implies trickery or deceit.

  • For instance, “He tried to sell me a fake Rolex. It was nothing but flimflam.”
  • In a conversation about dishonest sales tactics, someone might say, “Watch out for those flimflam artists trying to sell you something you don’t need.”
  • A person describing a situation where they were cheated might say, “I fell for their flimflam and lost a lot of money.”

13. Shark

In the context of fraud or deception, a shark refers to a person who preys on others for personal gain. It is often used to describe someone who is cunning, manipulative, and takes advantage of others.

  • For example, “He’s a real shark when it comes to business deals. You have to be careful.”
  • In a discussion about scams, someone might warn, “Don’t fall victim to those loan sharks. They’ll bleed you dry.”
  • A person recounting a story of being taken advantage of might say, “I was swimming with the sharks and didn’t even realize it.”

14. Phony

Phony is a term used to describe something or someone that is fake or fraudulent. It implies deceit or dishonesty.

  • For instance, “That email claiming I won a million dollars turned out to be phony.”
  • In a conversation about counterfeit products, someone might say, “Watch out for those phony designer handbags being sold online.”
  • A person describing a situation where they were tricked might say, “I thought the deal was too good to be true, and it turned out to be phony.”

15. Shady

Shady is a slang term used to describe something or someone who is suspicious or untrustworthy. It is often used to describe situations or individuals involved in fraudulent activities.

  • For example, “I wouldn’t trust that shady character hanging around the corner.”
  • In a discussion about online scams, someone might advise, “Be careful with those shady websites. They might steal your personal information.”
  • A person recounting a story of being deceived might say, “I got involved in a shady business deal and ended up losing a lot of money.”

16. Fake

This term refers to something that is not real or authentic. It can be used to describe objects, people, or actions that are intended to deceive or mislead others.

  • For example, “She bought a fake designer handbag on the street.”
  • In a discussion about scams, someone might say, “Beware of websites selling fake products.”
  • A person might warn others, “Don’t fall for those fake lottery emails.”

17. Cheat

This word is used to describe someone who deceives or defrauds others by breaking the rules or not playing by the established guidelines.

  • For instance, “He cheated on the test by looking at his neighbor’s paper.”
  • In a discussion about relationships, someone might say, “I can’t believe he cheated on her.”
  • A person might warn, “Watch out for that player, he’s known to cheat in games.”

18. Deceit

This term refers to the action of deceiving others by concealing or misrepresenting the truth.

  • For example, “The salesman used deceit to convince customers to buy his product.”
  • In a discussion about scams, someone might say, “Scammers often rely on deceit to gain people’s trust.”
  • A person might warn, “Be cautious of anyone using deceitful tactics to get your personal information.”

19. Trickster

This word is used to describe someone who uses cunning or cleverness to deceive or manipulate others for personal gain.

  • For instance, “He’s a trickster who always manages to get what he wants.”
  • In a discussion about folklore, someone might say, “The trickster character is a common archetype in many cultures.”
  • A person might warn, “Don’t trust that trickster, he’s known for scamming people out of their money.”

20. Grifter

This term is used to describe someone who uses charm, charisma, and manipulation to deceive others and gain their trust, often for financial gain.

  • For example, “The grifter convinced people to invest in a fake business.”
  • In a discussion about con artists, someone might say, “The grifter used a sophisticated scheme to trick his victims.”
  • A person might warn, “Be careful of that grifter, he’s known for running elaborate scams.”

21. Sham

A sham refers to something that is presented as genuine or legitimate, but is actually fake or deceptive. It can be used to describe a person, an object, or an action.

  • For example, “That product is a complete sham. It doesn’t do what it claims.”
  • In a discussion about scams, someone might say, “Don’t fall for their sham charity. They’re just trying to take your money.”
  • A person might describe a fraudulent business as, “They’re running a sham operation, promising high returns but delivering nothing.”

22. Fleece

To fleece someone means to deceive or swindle them out of their money or possessions. It is often used to describe a situation where someone is taken advantage of or cheated.

  • For instance, “He got fleeced by that smooth-talking salesman. He paid way more than the item was worth.”
  • In a conversation about scams, someone might say, “Watch out for those online sellers. They’ll fleece you if you’re not careful.”
  • A person might warn their friend, “Don’t lend money to him. He’s known for fleecing people and never paying them back.”

23. Snake oil

Snake oil refers to a product or remedy that is claimed to have great benefits or healing properties, but is actually fake or ineffective. It is often used to describe fraudulent or deceptive medical treatments.

  • For example, “Those weight loss pills are just snake oil. They don’t actually work.”
  • In a conversation about alternative medicine, someone might say, “Be careful of those snake oil salesmen. They’ll try to sell you anything.”
  • A person might describe a fraudulent health supplement as, “Don’t waste your money on that snake oil. It’s just a scam.”

24. Snake in the grass

A snake in the grass refers to a person who appears friendly or harmless, but is actually deceptive or treacherous. It is often used to describe someone who betrays or deceives others.

  • For instance, “I thought he was my friend, but he turned out to be a snake in the grass.”
  • In a conversation about trust, someone might say, “Be careful who you trust. There are a lot of snakes in the grass out there.”
  • A person might warn their friend about a manipulative coworker, saying, “Watch out for her. She’s a snake in the grass and will do anything to get ahead.”

25. Sharp practice

Sharp practice refers to unfair or deceitful behavior, often in a business or professional context. It is used to describe actions that are considered unethical or dishonest.

  • For example, “That company is known for engaging in sharp practice. They’ll do whatever it takes to make a profit.”
  • In a discussion about business ethics, someone might say, “We need to crack down on sharp practice in the industry and hold companies accountable.”
  • A person might describe a deceptive marketing tactic as, “That’s just sharp practice. They’re trying to trick people into buying their product.”

26. Bogus

This term is used to describe something that is not genuine or authentic. It is often used to refer to fake or counterfeit items.

  • For example, “That designer handbag you bought online turned out to be bogus.”
  • A person might say, “I can’t believe he tried to sell me a bogus Rolex.”
  • In a discussion about scams, someone might warn, “Watch out for bogus emails asking for your personal information.”

27. Faker

A “faker” is someone who pretends to be someone or something they are not, often with the intention of deceiving others.

  • For instance, “He’s such a faker. He acts like he knows everything, but he’s actually clueless.”
  • A person might say, “Don’t trust her, she’s a known faker.”
  • In a discussion about online dating, someone might warn, “Beware of fakers who create fake profiles.”

28. Fake-out

A “fake-out” is a deceptive action or maneuver intended to trick or deceive someone.

  • For example, “The football player performed a fake-out to confuse the defense.”
  • A person might say, “He tried to pull a fake-out, but I saw through his trick.”
  • In a discussion about magic tricks, someone might explain, “A good magician can perform a convincing fake-out to misdirect the audience’s attention.”

29. Fraudster

A “fraudster” is a person who engages in fraudulent activities, such as scams or schemes aimed at deceiving others for personal gain.

  • For instance, “The fraudster convinced people to invest in a fake company.”
  • A news article might report, “Authorities arrested a notorious fraudster for running a Ponzi scheme.”
  • In a discussion about identity theft, someone might warn, “Be aware of fraudsters who try to steal your personal information.”

30. Impostor

An “impostor” is someone who pretends to be someone else, often with the intention of deceiving others or gaining an advantage.

  • For example, “The impostor posed as a doctor and treated patients without a license.”
  • A person might say, “I knew he was an impostor because he couldn’t answer basic questions about the job.”
  • In a discussion about online gaming, someone might warn, “Beware of impostors who try to steal your account information.”

31. Pretender

A person who pretends to be someone else or claims to have skills or qualities they do not possess. A pretender is often trying to deceive others for personal gain or to manipulate a situation.

  • For example, a con artist might pose as a wealthy investor to gain the trust of potential victims.
  • In a discussion about online dating, someone might warn, “Watch out for pretenders who pretend to be someone they’re not.”
  • A person might say, “He’s a pretender, always boasting about his accomplishments but never actually delivering on his promises.”

32. Counterfeit

Something that is made to look like the real thing, but is actually an imitation or replica. Counterfeit items are often produced with the intention of deceiving others and passing off as genuine.

  • For instance, counterfeit money is created to resemble legal currency, but it is not legitimate.
  • In a conversation about designer handbags, someone might say, “Be careful when buying online, there are many counterfeit bags being sold.”
  • A person might warn, “That watch is counterfeit, it’s not an authentic brand.”

33. Quack

A person who makes false claims about their skills or abilities, particularly in the field of medicine. A quack is often trying to sell fraudulent or ineffective products or treatments.

  • For example, someone selling a fake cure for cancer would be considered a quack.
  • In a discussion about alternative medicine, someone might say, “Be wary of quacks who promise miracle cures.”
  • A person might comment, “That self-proclaimed doctor is a quack, don’t trust their advice.”
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