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Thread: Need help with some words

  1. #1
    Властелин iCake's Avatar
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    Need help with some words

    Hello, I want to ask what's the difference between the following words.

    They fleeced him.
    They conned him.
    They ripped him off.
    They shafted him.
    They scammed him.

    Please, keep in mind that I'm aware that some of the words have other meanings, and I'm intensly interested only in this particular meaning, which is to trick or deceive somebody, usually out of their money.

    Thanks in advance.
    I do not claim that my opinion is absolutely true.
    If you've spotted any mistake in my English, please, correct it. I want to be aware of any mistakes to efficiently eliminate them before they become a habit.

  2. #2
    Старший оракул Seraph's Avatar
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    Some of the difference can have to do with the MO (modus operandi). But there is a lot of overlap. So some of this is my opinion about these, and not necessarily definitions.

    Conned could have to do with a confidence trick, in which a false sense of confidence is developed in the victim, then the real crime is committed. So there is bad intention in the initial act of engendering a false sense of confidence. Then comes the rip off. So the over all thing is a con job, and the rip off is the final act.

    Fleeced can have to do with something like what is happening now in Cyprus. Depositors have money in banks in Cyprus, that has deposit insurance. Along comes EU/IMF etc and imposes "hair cut' (fleecing) of deposits, and not honoring deposit insurance. There was no intent initially in stealing the money, this has come about after the fact, some time after depositors started doing business with bank. But I think fleecing could be done with bad initial intent as well. "Investors fleeced after being sold bill of goods"

    Shafted can come about from some details in an agreement, like pension agreement, or insurance or something, in which a person is fulfilling their side of the agreement, paying their part, and then when it comes time for the counter party to do their part, they point to some contractual detail and say , we don't have to honor the agreement, because person failed to do some trivial thing. So this can have to do with a counter party not honoring an agreement, they have a legal way to weasel out of agreement, but it is contrary to spirit of the agreement, and they are really being like Scrooge. So this one can be like someone legally doing something rotten. It's legal, but immoral. "Shafted in court/legal decision"

    And so the way I look at these is that the differences have to do with how the bad thing was done. Was the thing criminal from the beginning? Did the thing develop because some party got into trouble, and is pushing the trouble onto someone else, without initially thinking that they would do this? Is it a case in which a person has not looked into the fine details of a situation or agreement, and so has missed out that they need to do specific things to ensure they remain eligible or in good standing?

    I suppose there are many possibilities, but these cover a few. And there really is a lot of overlap.

    A common one today is this thing called a "Bait and switch".

    Also look up "sold a bill of goods".
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    Властелин iCake's Avatar
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    Huge thanks, Seraph

    Don't think I'm not appreciative of your help, but what about the other two words which you didn't elaborate on? I mean rip somebody off, and scam somebody.
    I do not claim that my opinion is absolutely true.
    If you've spotted any mistake in my English, please, correct it. I want to be aware of any mistakes to efficiently eliminate them before they become a habit.

  4. #4
    Старший оракул Seraph's Avatar
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    Maybe this can help with scam:How scams work
    "Scammers give you something, such as a 'free' gift or assistance, to get something in return, such as your agreement later on. You are caught up feeling obliged to do something. Protect yourself from those sentiments by recognising the gifts and favours as nothing more than devices to influence you to return the favour." from that site.

    So typically, a scam is an attempt to get a commitment from someone so that they will pay out money, without getting anything in return. Often they are a criminal fraud.

    Oh, yes. The most common scams I know of are actually e-mail scams. Some e-mail will show up that says something like account frozen or something. They want verification of account details or something. Another type is like mail box or account full or something, contact them or something. I usually don't remember too much about what is in the e-mail scams because I don't open mail from any address I don't know. Usually the scam has a title that tries to instill fear or concern that something has to be done right away or big problems will result. Bank account frozen or something. So just do what they want. And fall into their trap. But I look at the 'from' address, and just delete.

    Scammers commonly target the elderly to take advantage of diminished capacity, confusion etc.

    Scams would also be called a rip off, i think.
    Rip off is the most generic term of all those terms. It can be applied in most cases.

    The plot of Chichikov in Gogol's Dead Souls is a scam. He wants to use non-existent people as collateral for a nice loan. In that case he would be scamming the bank.

    If anyone ever wants immediate agreement or compliance with something, so there is no time to think it over, or no time to take home and look at details carefully, probably criminal scam. "We need you to act right away," what ever reason, don't.


    .
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    rip off = обдираловка

  6. #6
    Старший оракул Seraph's Avatar
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    I made all that a little messy.

    Scam = procedure, stratagem, scheme etc to defraud, steal, take money, goods, assets, away from people. Noun and verb.

    Fleece = taking money, assets, goods etc improperly, immorally or illegally away from people, by what ever means.

    Shafted for me usually means a large, significant amount of value stolen, withheld, not delivered , etc improperly immorally or illegally. Not just a days pay, but like life savings, or some years savings.
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    Почтенный гражданин 14Russian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seraph View Post
    I made all that a little messy.

    Scam = procedure, stratagem, scheme etc to defraud, steal, take money, goods, assets, away from people. Noun and verb.

    Fleece = taking money, assets, goods etc improperly, immorally or illegally away from people, by what ever means.

    Shafted for me usually means a large, significant amount of value stolen, withheld, not delivered , etc improperly immorally or illegally. Not just a days pay, but like life savings, or some years savings.
    Good explanations above. I also told Igor that it doesn't always have to do with being swindled out of money. E.g. 'I got shafted / I got fleeced'/ They all have to do with being deceived or being taken at a disadvantage (as you explain above). Also, 'fleeced' is often used in sports terminology. "That GM just got fleeced." I just mentioned it in case the Russian speakers come across these expressions.
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