Confidence Game

Primary tabs

A confidence game is when a person defrauds a victim of their money, property, or information through tricks. The perpetrator is able to defraud the victim of their possessions through gaining the victim’s trust.

A popular confidence game in recent years has been email phishing scams. One in particular involves the perpetrator emailing an employee of a company, pretending to be their supervisor. The conversation may start off friendly by referencing a recent promotion the perpetrator has observed on the company website. This is done to gain the employee’s trust. The perpetrator will then ask the employee to purchase an item for them, often gift cards, and send the item to them as soon as possible. 

States prosecute perpetrators in a variety of ways including fraud, swindling, and theft by trick. California Penal Code 332 PC prosecutes perpetrators for obtaining a victim’s money or property through confidence games. The crime is charged as a misdemeanor and the defendant could be fined up to $5,000 for their first offense or $10,000 for their second offense, in addition to jail time. 

[Last updated in June of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]