A scheme is a plan. Although there are different types of schemes, usually when the word "scheme" is chosen, the plan is to do something that involves cheating or unfairly taking advantage of other people.

  • A ponzi scheme involves convincing people that they can make a lot of money quickly and easily.
  • A mail order scheme involves fooling people into buying something worthless through the mail.
  • Many schemes nowadays involve the theft of a person’s credit card number and then using that number to make unauthorized purchases.
  • Identity theft is a scheme that can ruin a person’s credit and reputation.
  • Con artists come up with schemes to cheat people who are elderly or unable to make good decisions.
  • Deep fakes are newly created schemes that make fake videos look very real.
  • Schemes often require the use of a computer or a mobile device such as a cell phone.


You can also use the word "scheme" when talking about a plan that is helpful and not harmful.

  • City planners in the U.S. are devising schemes for reducing congestion in large cities.
  • Educators are working on schemes that address the proper use of technology in classrooms.
  • Scientists need to come up with some kind of scheme that removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
  • A rhyme scheme shows how words in poems rhyme in a particular pattern.

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June 14, 2019