A bunch of empty offices made up to look like a real life setting, say a bookmaker's or production office. Commonly used by a ConMan.

Expect the place to be [[ItWasHereISwear completely abandoned]] by the time the authorities show up in force.



[[folder: Film ]]

* ''Film/TheSting'' uses this exact term to describe what they need to rent, and later pay for: an empty basement office/store in order to convert it into a betting parlor.
* The protagonists of ''Film/{{Accepted}}'' use this technique to create a stand-in fictional college to fool their parents. However, before long HilarityEnsues.
* Subverted in ''Film/TheGame'' starring Michael Douglas. Our hero does convince the cops to come back to the Big Bad's main HQ but it is empty. Turns out [[spoiler: the company owns the entire building so it was no trouble faking a few empty floors]].
* In ''Film/{{Sneakers}}'', the BigBad picked an office building that was abandoned because it was due for demolition in a few days. By the time our heroes returned, all the evidence was rubble.
* In ''Film/TheGrifters'', a con-woman tells of a big con which involved convincing the mark that banks of huge computers were in the next (empty) rooms. Despite the risk her confederate kept asking the mark to go see them, while the woman laughed and said he didn't have to go.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* Such offices are used several times for various purposes in the ''Burke'' series by Creator/AndrewVachss.
* In ''Literature/TheLittleGoldenCalf'',
** Ostap opens one of those, as a firm that supposedly buys horns and hooves to make combs. (It is in fact a front for his investigations into the the illegal fortune of the SecretlyWealthy antagonist.) Since then, "Horns and Hooves" became a Russian idiom for any suspicious office that's likely to vanish when things will go sour.
** Subverted: when Ostap's scheme fails and the firm is busted, the Soviet government nationalizes it and builds a real office that really trades in horns and hooves.
* The third Literature/HeistSociety novel has one; it is even specifically called this trope.


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* ''Series/EverybodyLovesRaymond'': Robert was fooled with this con.
* ''Series/{{Hustle}}'' used this in almost every episode.
* ''Series/MissionImpossible'' put this one to work a lot. To pick but one example, "The Execution" has an unused warehouse turned into a death row prison block and gas chamber.
* ''Series/AliasSmithAndJones'' did a Big Store con in detail (to a mark who richly deserved it) in the episode "The Great Shell Game".
* ''Series/BurnNotice'' subverted this: after convincing the mark that a closed up church-room was being used by a group of assassins out for the mark's blood, they then had a problem when the mark took his brother back there. So they turned it into a church and put on a show to convince the brother that the mark was crazy.
* Used straight by ''Series/MacGyver''.
* In one episode of ''Series/ItsAlwaysSunnyInPhiladelphia'' Charlie is convinced the company he and Mac get jobs at is one of these. Turns out, no, it's a legitimate company, Charlie's just gone insane from stress.
* ''Series/{{Leverage}}'' has used this a few times, but not as often as you'd expect for a show about con artists. The showrunner says in the DVD commentary that this trope's become so ubiquitous in con-artist stories that he avoided it as much as possible.
** The pilot, for instance, is actually a subversion: the mark realizes he's being had and calls the cops on the fake business, but it turns out that they're genuine and also that the team has got them thinking that ''he's'' pulling something on ''them'': all part of the plan.
** Inverted in one episode where the team makes a legit business look fake as bait for a mark looking for a way to launder money. They get a small gym cleared out during peak hours (except for one intense woman who keeps up with Parker on the exercise bike) so it looks like an operation set up to cover "fake" membership dues as a laundering set-up with no real costumers (for an added twist, the list of fake members is just the names of all the people the mark had stolen money from, he doesn't even recognize their names).
* A MonsterOfTheWeek in ''Series/CriminalMinds'' who was killing people based on their fear operated his practice out of an abandoned office building his wife's family owned. To make it look more real, he put other fake businesses on the entry hall board.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* In ''VideoGame/LiberalCrimeSquad'', you can purchase a Business Front upgrade for the abandoned warehouses and the crack house you can seize as safehouses. Their purpose is to hide the heat your Liberals have acquired, therefore making it harder for the law enforcement to track them.


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* A shady organization on ''WesternAnimation/{{Batman Beyond}}'' had a building made up to look like a school for gifted children, as a cover for abductions: on closer inspection, rows of computer terminals were empty monitor casings, most floors had never even been used, etc.
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/AllGrownUp'' had Suzie go to a building where an apparent talent agent had told her to be after giving her 1,000 dollars. Turns out the woman's a con artist that swindled her, and the building hasn't been used in years. Suzie is understandably upset about this.