The Hoax Museum Blog
Marlboro Marijuana Cigarettes
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jan 27, 2014
The latest fake news story to go viral claims that, due to the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, Philip Morris has decided to start selling Marlboro Marijuana Cigarettes, marketed under the brand name "Marlboro M". The fake news story was posted on the satire site "Abril Uno" on January 21st. From the article: Phillip Morris, the world’s biggest cigarette producer, announced today that they will join the marijuana legalization bandwagon and start producing marijuana cigarettes. Marketed under the brand “Marlboro M”, the cigarettes will be made available for sale through marijuana-licensed outlets in the state of Colorado, and the state of Washington when it becomes commercially legal there later…
The Samsung Pays Apple in Nickels Rumor
Posted by The Curator on Sat Nov 23, 2013
In August 2012, a jury awarded Apple over $1 billion in damages in their patent infringement case against Samsung. This sparked a rumor that Samsung had gotten its own back against Apple by paying the fine entirely in nickels — sending 30 trucks full of nickels over to Apple's headquarters. A video of a bunch of delivery trucks driving down a city street was offered as confirmation of the rumor — although the trucks in the video weren't from Samsung. A picture also circulated showing coins pouring down a ramp in some warehouse setting. The Guardian posted a good…
Are 10 percent of wall street workers psychopaths?
Posted by The Curator on Wed May 30, 2012
We recently got to see an example of how a bogus fact takes root and spreads — that fact being that 10 percent of wall street workers are clinical psychopaths. It started with a study titled "Corporate Psychopathy: Talking the Walk" published in the April 2010 issue of the journal Behavioral Sciences and the Law. Its lead author was Robert Hare, a specialist in the study of psychopathy. Hare had the opportunity to study 203 corporate professionals participating in a management development program. As part of this study, he conducted psychopathy assessments on the individuals, thus producing some of the first scientific data on psychopathy in the business world.
Marl the Stock-Picking Robot
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 23, 2012
Accipiter already posted about this in the forum, but the story is odd enough that it deserves to be on the front page. Back in 2007, two teenage twins from North Tyneside, Alexander and Thomas Hunter, began selling a stock newsletter in which they recommended stocks supposedly selected by an AI robot named Marl. Investors could also pay to get advice through a variety of websites run by the twins, daytradingrobot.com, doublingstocks.com, and equitypromoter.com. Or would-be millionaires could get a version of Marl to run on their computer at home. The brothers advertised that "The longer Marl is allowed to run on a computer… The More Advanced He Becomes!" The reality: Marl didn't…
Trojan Houses, or Mobile Homeless Homes
Posted by The Curator on Sat Apr 21, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Outraged homeless muppets to converge on Goldman Sachs NEW YORK, April 21, 2012 -- Homelessness is a great American tragedy. Our financial system and government have let us down and we, together, must take a stand to change the way the system works. With over 11 million homes underwater and millions in foreclosure, people are frightened, distressed and angry. Although not a cure, Mobile Homeless Homes (MHH) offers a temporary solution -- low cost alternative living spaces for the millions of upside-down, underwater or foreclosed homeowners who have lost their houses due to the banking crisis that caused the real estate collapse. The MHH centerpiece…
Bank of America Declares Man Dead
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 14, 2012
If you're declared dead on twitter, it doesn't mean much anymore especially if you're Justin Bieber. But if a major bank declares you dead, that can really screw up your finances if you happen to still be alive. This happened to Arthur Livingston (who lives, oddly enough, in a town called Prosperity). Bank of America reported him dead. Livingston only found this out when he tried to get a new mortgage. But no one would loan him money because he was supposed to be dead. It cost Livingston thousands of dollars to sort out the mistake. Bank of America has apologized, but of course, it hasn't offered him any compensation for its screw-up. Link:
Turning Yankee dirt into gold
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jan 18, 2012
Mark HaywardA pile of dirt may not be worth much money. But a pile of dirt that was once beneath Yankee Stadium could potentially have more value. Especially if that dirt was packed into key chains and other corporate gift items and then sold at a big markup in sporting goods stores. That was the pitch Mark Hayward used to convince a victim to give him $35,000 -- as an investment in this Yankee dirt scheme. As far as I can tell (the news report isn't really clear) Hayward never had the dirt in question. Eventually the victim got suspicious. And now Hayward is facing charges of first-degree larceny. Link:…
Posted by The Curator on Thu Oct 06, 2011
The legend of Out-Of-Control Government Expenditures is alive and well. Back in the 1980s, reports of the US government paying $400 for a hammer and $600 for a toilet sparked outrage. And now, late last month, came the news that the Justice Department had paid $16 a piece for muffins at a 2009 conference. But just as the hammer and toilet weren't really as expensive as they seemed, it turns out that the price of the muffins was an artifact of accounting. The $16 included the entire continental breakfast, service, and taxes. Of course, while the government may not be paying premium price for muffins, those bailouts to the bankers did seem a little steep.
The Case of the Honest Trader
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 28, 2011
On Monday (Sep 26) an "independent stock trader" named Alessio Rastani appeared on an interview with the BBC to discuss the Eurozone debt crisis. As the interview progressed, it became apparent that Rastani was far more blunt and cynical than most people from the financial community are when talking in public. For instance, in response to the question, "What would make investors more confident?" he came out with this: I'm a trader. If I see an opportunity to make money, I go with that. Most traders, we don't really care too much how they're going to fix the situation. Our job is to make money from it. And…
Reusing your hotel towels: sensible behavior or scam?
Posted by The Curator on Tue Apr 07, 2009
Jill Hunter Pellettieri writes in Slate.com about how she hates those notices you now find in all the hotels asking you to re-use your towels in order to "Save Our Planet." Like her, I find them to be disingenuous. The real beneficiaries are the hotels, not the environment, because the hotels save lots of money on laundry costs, and they don't bother to pass those cost-savings along to the customers. [slate.com]
Worst April Fools?
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 06, 2009
An online brokerage, Zecco, pretended to give customers multi-million trading accounts on April 1st. Funny until customers began doing actual trades with the money. Lots of blogs were linking to this story, calling it the worst April Fool's ever. (I'm not sure about that. It's still not as bad as some on the official list.) But now the company is saying it was an accident, not a purposeful prank.
The AIG Bonuses
Posted by The Curator on Mon Mar 16, 2009
In response to the uproar over the millions of dollars in bonuses paid to the executives of AIG (you know, that company that would be bankrupt if not for the billions of dollars in loans it's taken from the US government), AIG management explains that it had no choice but to pay those bonuses because it was contractually obligated to do so. The Treasury Department, despite wagging its finger sternly at AIG, appears to accept that argument. On salon.com Glenn Greenwald details why AIG's argument is transparently bogus. Contracts get renegotiated all the time when companies are in financial jeopardy. So what makes these contracts untouchable? The truth must be that…
Forbes not being sold to the Russians
Posted by The Curator on Wed Nov 26, 2008
The business magazine Forbes "absolutely denies" a rumor that it's being bought by a Russian private equity firm, Onexim. The irony here is that it was Forbes, back in 1991, which published a hoax claiming that the Russian government, desperate for foreign currency, was selling the embalmed body of Vladimir Lenin to the highest bidder. Times and fortunes have changed. It appears now the shoe is on the other foot.
Posted by The Curator on Wed Nov 19, 2008
Britain's Financial Services Authority has found a new group to blame for the financial crisis: naive traders spreading rumors. It cites one example of a trader who "spread a piece of 'hot news' to 10 to 12 of his friends over a messaging system without making clear that it was a rumour. One of his contacts then did not hesitate to spread the message on to 150 of his contacts." To counter the problem, the FSA is urging companies to adopt policies "on how to deal with rumours and monitoring chat sessions, phone calls and emails from traders." Good thing it's tackling this problem. And once it's succeeded in making the stockmarket…
Is Bank of America cancelling the majority of its customers’ credit cards?
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 29, 2008
This rumor is going around: BoA to close credit cards for approximately 60% of customers? "I work in Credit Department at BoA (Senior Level Credit Analysist Boa Bldg 3rd fl, Char, NC). We just received memo indicating that all BoA credit cards are being closed as of 10/1. Credit score and income do not matter, all accounts are closed as of 10/1." Executive VP Bank of America "This is true, but not as bad as he/she says. We are closing accounts, but only ones with credit scores under 750. We will reopen cards…