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a confidence game
A method of inspiring someone's trust and then deceiving them. Don't fall for Tony's sad story—he's known for playing confidence games. Come on, these shady companies are known for exploiting people through confidence games. If John got you to pay for him last night under the pretense that he'll "pay you back later," forget it—you've already fallen victim to a confidence game.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Also, confidence trick; con game. A swindle in which the victim is defrauded after his or her trust has been won. For example, The police warned of a confidence game in which people were asked to turn over valuables for a so-called appraisal , or The typical confidence trick is easy to spot if you know what to look for, or I almost let myself be taken in by her con game-she seemed so sincere. These terms, which use confidence in the sense of "trust," date from the mid-1800s. They also gave rise to confidence man (or con man) for the swindler.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.