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    #1

    scam versus grift

    Hi,

    I have a question regarding the use of "scam" and "grift". They both seem to mean the same thing according to my findings, that is cheat by fraud. Can someone give me a better explanation of their use?

    I just found a magazine headline that says: "Scammers and Grifters Are Everywhere" and I was wondering about the difference between these two words.

    Thank you.

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: scam versus grift

    "Grift" is a verb (a very informal one); a person who grifts is a "grifter".

    "Scam" is a countable noun (from which a verb has been coined - and that verb gives us the not very common word "scammer").

    Grifting has been going on for centuries; scams are usually (always ) carried out over the Internet.

    b

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: scam versus grift

    To me, the main difference would be that grifters usually carry out their activities on a direct one-to-one face-to-face basis. If you've ever seen the fantastic film "The Sting" you'll see exactly what grifters do.

    Scams are frequently carried out from a distance - over the internet or by post/phone, at least in the UK.

    I don't think I've heard grifter used much in BrE, more in AmE.

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: scam versus grift

    Yes, The Sting was this first place I ever heard the word "grifter". But it's found it's way into Br Eng at least so far as to be used (regularly) in the not very good (but Britisj) TV series Hustle.

    b

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: scam versus grift

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    Yes, The Sting was this first place I ever heard the word "grifter". But it's found it's way into Br Eng at least so far as to be used (regularly) in the not very good (but Britisj) TV series Hustle.

    b
    Ah, I've never seen Hustle though I understand it's worth a look! So there we go, now it's BrE too. Hurrah!

  5. BobK's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: scam versus grift

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Ah, I've never seen Hustle though I understand it's worth a look! So there we go, now it's BrE too. Hurrah!
    Not entirely; the father-figure is Robert Vaughan, and the occasional episode is set in the USA. But everyone else in the team is British, as are the police in most episodes.

    b

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    #7

    Re: scam versus grift

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    "Grift" is a verb (a very informal one); a person who grifts is a "grifter".
    I'd use con rather than grift, which I learned from the same source as everyone else here.

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    #8

    Re: scam versus grift

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    I'd use con rather than grift, which I learned from the same source as everyone else here.
    Good point.

    To con
    Conman/conwoman
    Con artist

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    #9

    Re: scam versus grift

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Good point.

    To con
    Conman/conwoman
    Con artist
    I remember a time when the word 'conman' wasn't widely understood, and people said 'confidence trickster'. Now 'confidence trickster' is rather formal - if not plain old-fashioned.

    In fact, when I first heard 'grifter' I assumed it was a porte-manteau word that combined 'graft' [=hard work] with 'trickster'. (It still seems possible, but I'm open to correction).

    b

    PS The verb 'to con' can take two objects, the second after the words 'out of': She conned the pensioner and She conned the pensioner out of his life savings.
    Last edited by BobK; 29-May-2011 at 18:30. Reason: PS added

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    #10

    Re: scam versus grift

    Graft also has the meaning of corrupt practices, especially bent government officials- I hadn't heard it used much when living in the UK, but the English-language press in Asia use it.

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