Confidence trick

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A confidence trick, confidence game, or con for short, (also known as a scam or flim flam) is an attempt to intentionally deceive a person or persons (known as the mark) usually with the goal of financial or other gain. The confidence trickster, con man, scam artist or con artist often works with an accomplice called the shill, who tries to encourage the mark by pretending to believe the trickster. In a traditional con, the mark is encouraged to believe that he will obtain money dishonestly by cheating a third party, and is stunned to find that due to what appears to be an error in pulling off the scam he is the one who loses money; in more general use, the term con is used for any fraud in which the victim is tricked into losing money by false promises of gain.

Confidence tricks in general exploit the inherent greed and dishonesty of their victims; it has been said by confidence tricksters that it was impossible to con a completely honest man. Often, the mark tries to out-cheat the conmen, only to discover that they have been manipulated into this.

Sometimes conmen rely on naive individuals who put their confidence in get rich quick schemes such as 'too good to be true' investments. It may take years for the wider community to discover that such 'investment' schemes are bogus, and usually it is too late as many people have lost their life savings in something they have been confident of investing in. One such famous get rich scheme is the advance fee fraud, also known as the 419 fraud.

Modern examples[edit]

In March 2018, one or more con artists have been repeatedly impersonating Elon Musk, and other celebrities, in replies to their tweets on Twitter, offering large amounts of Ethereum in return for smaller amounts.[1] This rather obvious "free money" scam is rendered slightly more convincing to gullible Twitter users by the fake Musk accounts looking very similar to Musk's real account, but without the blue tick, and by other accounts (some of them potentially being shills, bots acting as shills, or alternate accounts of the con artist) favoriting the tweet and posting replies with variations on the theme "I tried it and it really works!"

Cryptocurrency payments cannot be subject to chargeback, unlike credit card payments, so the fraudsters are likely just walking away with the funds sent to them.