Professional Jargon and Uncensored Street Slang

By Larry C. Adams, CFE, CPA, CIA, CISA

Fraud in Other Words 

To deceive, delude, or influence by slyness. Hoodwink is derived from wink, meaning to briefly close an eye. In the 16th century, it was fashionable to wear a head covering of a cowl or hood attached to a cloak. A wearer became hoodwinked or blinded when the hood unintentionally fell over the person's eyes. The situation made the wearer vulnerable. A thief could intentionally pull a hood down over a victim's eyes and then snatch his or her purse, leaving the victim groping about for the perpetrator and the stolen valuables.

In other situations, a nearly-closed hood could conceal the wearer's identity and be used to intentionally deceive other people.

Today, a fraudster might hoodwink his victims by concealing his true motives and feigning good intentions while a scam continues. The fraudster might mislead the victims to believe an untruth. Organizations or consumers might allege they have been hoodwinked out of thousands of dollars. However, victims are more likely to be blinded by their own greed than a cloth hood.

In Elizabethan times, children played the "hoodwinke game" that is known today as "blind man's buff (or bluff)." One child is blindfolded and then the other players scatter around to avoid detection. The blindfolded person wanders around trying to find and tag another player. To deceive or tease the blindfolded person, some players make distracting noises as they move about or give the person a disorienting small push called a buff.1  

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