Learn something new every day
More Info... by email
The badger game is an extortion scheme in which a person is tricked into doing something embarrassing so that he might later be blackmailed. It normally involves a sexual encounter but could also include other activities such as gambling or drinking. The victim is usually a married man of substantial wealth although people of both genders who are public officials, religious leaders, or physicians could be candidates.
One way this scheme is carried out is to have a woman lure a man into a compromising position. Photographs or videotapes may then be taken without his knowledge or consent. These instruments are then presented to the individual along with a demand for payment. The person is threatened with exposure if he refuses to come up with the specified amount of money.
In some instances, a woman might threaten a male, also known as a mark, with sexual harassment charges. Other variations of the badger game could involve allegations of rape or sexual misconduct. These plots might be used on public officials or corporate executives in many cases.
Some forms of the badger game involve tricking a member of a certain religious group into doing something his sect strictly prohibits. This could be drinking or gambling, for example. These schemes are usually played out on members of the Mormon or Muslim faiths.
Newer extortion schemes can sometimes involve homosexuality, child pornography, or any other act that has a negative social stigma. This is due in part to the fact that adultery may be frowned upon less than it was in the mid-to-late 20th century. The new twists to this plot make it possible for both men and women to become victims of the badger game. Even so, females are generally targeted less frequently than males.
In the early 19th century, victims of the badger game were often barged in on during a sexual act by the woman's alleged boyfriend or husband. He would then take photographs of the couple, followed by a demand for justice. As technology has advanced, this scenario might be somewhat less common. Evidence may be produced at a later time, perhaps by e-mail or text message in some instances.
It is not certain how or where the badger game originated, but this extortion scheme has been documented as far back as the early 1800s. Despite this fact, it is illegal throughout most of the world. It has, however, been used as a plot in many books and movies.
My friend fell prey to what I guess you would call a badger game. His wife, or I should say former wife, was a very jealous type. She was always convinced that her husband, my friend, would cheat or was right on the verge of cheating.
She called an escort service and basically paid for a woman to seduce her husband. I guess she wanted to see if he would remain faithful in the face of temptation. Well, my friend was not as honorable as he should have been. I'm not proud of this but it's just the truth.
The hired woman told the wife who confronted the husband and in the ensuing fight and divorce the entire
scheme was revealed. It was sneaky and everyone knew it but it didn't change the fact of the infidelity. Long story short, my friend lost a lot of his personal wealth and has never really recovered. You don't think that people you know could get schemed like this but it happens.
I have seen this scenario play in in tons of films and books but I never knew what it was called. I'm glad to know though. I have always been fascinated with the lingo of con men and the world of grifting.
I don't know what it is. I never aspired to be a con man and I know I don't have the nerves to be any good at it. I think it's just fun to live vicariously through these tough types who use their wits to trick people out of their money. Its sneaky and dishonest I know, but you can't deny that it's fun to think about.
One of our editors will review your suggestion and make changes if warranted. Note that depending on the number of suggestions we receive, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Thank you for helping to improve wiseGEEK!