There are a number of different names for a charlatan, including shyster, imposter, faker, mountebank or swindler. Their claim to fame is practicing some sort of trick, deception, or pretense to get money. Charlatanism comes from the French word charlatan – a person who sold medicines and may have been regarded as a quack, hence what these people do to get money from people is regarded as quackery.
Charlatans are not the same as other confidence tricksters in that they are typically salespeople. They do not work to establish a personal relationship with their clients, and do not go to great lengths to try to set a victim up by using elaborate schemes and plots. Instead, they resort to tricks, or fake means, to sell someone worthless goods or services that do not live up to any of their promises. The trickster is well aware of what they are doing, and strives to impress his “marks” to get them to give him cash in return for questionable products or services.
Charlatanism is also a word used in the arena of spiritual communications – a person who fudges evidence that a spirit is trying to make contact with someone from the “Other Side.”