"to cheat," late 14c., from obsolete noun fobbe "cheat, trickster" (late 14c.), which perhaps is from Old French forbeter "to deceive, trick, dupe." Alternative etymology holds that the word is perhaps related to German foppen "to jeer at, make a fool of" (see fop); or from German fuppen, einfuppen "to pocket stealthily," which would connect it to fob (n.).
Meaning "to put or shift off (something) by pretense" is from 1650s; to fob (someone) off "put him off deceitfully" is from 1590s. Related: Fobbed; fobbing.