a confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit; swindle.
verb (used with object), scammed, scamming.
to cheat or defraud with a scam.

1960–65; orig. carnival argot; of obscure origin

scammer, noun

scam, scan. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
scam (skæm)
1.  a stratagem for gain; a swindle
vb , scams, scamming, scammed
2.  (tr) to swindle (someone) by means of a trick

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1963, n. and v., U.S. slang, a carnival term, of unknown origin. Perhaps related to 19c. British slang scamp "cheater, swindler" (see scamp (n.)).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang Dictionary

scam definition

  1. n.
    a swindle; a hustle. : I lost a fortune in that railroad scam.
  2. tv.
    to swindle someone; to deceive someone. : They were scammed by a sweet-talking southern lady who took all their money.
  3. in.
    to seek out and pick up young women, said of males. (Collegiate.) : Bob was out scamming last night and ran into Clare.
  4. in.
    to copulate. : All you ever want to do is scam.
  5. in.
    to fool around and waste time. : Quit scamming and get busy.
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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Example sentences
Anyways, it's no more of a scam than academia in general is a scam.
But given the huge amount of paperwork required to keep his scam going, it
  seems unlikely that no one else knew about it.
For nature's scam artists survival means lying, stealing, or vanishing in place.
But it creates a lot of false alarms and continues to do so even after you tell
  a site is not a scam.
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