The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Business/Finance
Rumormongering Traders — 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…
Posted: Wed Nov 19, 2008.   Comments (2)

Is Bank of America cancelling the majority of its customers’ credit cards? — 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…
Posted: Mon Sep 29, 2008.   Comments (29)

Weird Fragrances — I stumbled across this site, weirdfragrances.com (I'm not linking directly to them, so I won't boost their google rank), that promises to send you a free sample of cologne. In return you simply provide them with your email and mailing address, and promise to later answer a few questions about the fragrance. You can choose from a variety of offbeat scents such as Grease Monkey, Burning Rubber, or Ash Tray. Is it a legit offer? I would guess not. First, it strikes me as odd that the…
Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2008.   Comments (2)

It’s Right-Sizing, not Down-Sizing — Media Agency Carat recently decided to lay off some of its employees. PowerPoint and Word documents somehow leaked out detailing how management planned to inform employees and clients of the decision. They offer an example of corporate b.s. at its finest. Details include: • The agency wasn't going to be down-sizing. Instead, the documents repeatedly described the moves as a "right-sizing" of the agency. • Clients were to be informed of the "staffing change" with this script: "Mary…
Posted: Thu Sep 11, 2008.   Comments (11)


Thieves Steal Fake Money — Thieves used a hammer to break open a plexiglass box being used as a Drop-A-Note donation box in the Kentucky Theatre's lobby, and they stole the money inside. Unfortunately for the thieves, the money they took was fake. From kentucky.com: "It's sad when idiots can't tell fake money from the real thing," said Steve Brown, president of Kentucky's Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ Project, a group dedicated to restoring a Wurlitzer organ and returning it to the Kentucky. Proceeds from the…
Posted: Sun Jun 22, 2008.   Comments (1)

Santa Claus Currency — The Daily Record reports on a stupid counterfeit scheme that almost worked: A FORGER convinced a cashier a £20 note was real - despite Santa Claus and his reindeer being on it. Stacey Rice's self-made Santa Christmas Bank note promised to pay the bearer nothing and listed Santa as the bank's "chief operating officer" with his address as the North Pole. But Rice, 27, was still able to pass it off as genuine in an "astonishing" scam, a court heard. She duped a gullible cashier at a gym…
Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2008.   Comments (7)

Man overuses fake funeral excuse — I'm guessing there's at least one guy like this in every company. The Mainichi Daily News reports: A tax inspector has resigned after being punished for telling bosses that relatives had died in order to claim compassionate leave on 11 occasions, officials said... His bosses discovered the scam when he told them in September last year that his grandmother's funeral was being held at a funeral hall, which was found not to exist. It was learned that he'd taken 10 more days off between…
Posted: Mon Apr 07, 2008.   Comments (5)

How To Make Fake Gold Bars — Recently the national bank of Ethiopia discovered that much of the gold in its possession was fake. It was simply gold-plated steel. It found this out after it sent a shipment of gold to South Africa, which promptly sent it back. Theo Gray, writing for popsci.com, points out that it's incredible that a national bank fell for a fraud like this, since simply by picking up the gold bars someone should have noticed that they were too light to be real -- gold being much heavier than steel.
Posted: Sun Mar 16, 2008.   Comments (15)

Amerimark “Passport to Health” Scam — At the beginning of January I ordered a seat cushion from a company called Amerimark. I got the cushion. It was fine. I'm sitting on it now. But a little over a month later I was looking at my credit card statement, and I noticed that in addition to the charge for the cushion, Amerimark had posted a second charge three weeks later for $3.99. I had no idea what the additional charge could be for. I asked my wife about it. She didn't know either. But I figured it must be postage, or…
Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2008.   Comments (64)

Business opportunities I have squandered — When someone wants to rent a midget, I'm apparently the first person they contact. I say this because I receive A LOT of email inquiries from people wanting to rent midgets, such as this one I got yesterday: do you know any midget strippers that would do a wake up at a bachelor party or this one from a few weeks ago: Do you know if I could get 2 male midgets at my Lounge for a party this Friday Jan 25th in Chicago IL.  I would appreciate a response. It's my fault. I posted about a
Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2008.   Comments (7)

Joe Herrick of Gutterman Research — Following the release of a company's quarterly earnings report, analysts get a chance to participate in a conference call with the company's management. When I briefly worked in a pr firm, years ago, I had to listen to quite a few of these calls. I thought they were usually mind-numbingly dull. But it sounds like someone has figured out a way to have some fun with them. The Wall Street Journal Reports: At least seven times just the past three weeks, a mystery caller has cleverly…
Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008.   Comments (5)

Tom Jones’s Million-Dollar Chest Hair — Last week the Daily Mirror reported that 67-year-old singer Tom Jones had insured his chest hair for £3.5million: With tough tour schedules and big money at stake, It's Not Unusual for stars to insure their bodies. So it should come as no surprise to learn that Sir Tom Jones, 67, whose mop of luxurious curly brown hair has made him a hit with the ladies, has had his chest hair insured - for the princely sum of £3.5million! Top insurance house Lloyd's of London was approached about the…
Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2008.   Comments (2)

The Unrecognised States Numismatic Society — The Unrecognised States Numismatic Society (USNS) describes itself as a "group catering to numismatists whose collecting interests largely focus on coins minted by groups purporting, pretending or appearing to be sovereign states, but which are not recognised as such by established governments." They've got examples of coins from a bunch of unrecognized nations, including the Principality of Sealand, Atlantis, the Confederation of Antarctica, and the Dominion of West Florida, which…
Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2008.   Comments (3)

Clarkson’s Account Gets Hacked — Jeremy Clarkson, host of Top Gear, (which you can see in America if you get BBC America on cable) publicly mocked a story about some computer discs being lost that held the bank details of 25 million people. He claimed that there was no way hackers would be able to use the information to withdraw money from people's accounts. To show how certain he was of this, he published his own account code and routing number. A few days later, according to Clarkson: "I opened my bank statement…
Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2008.   Comments (8)

Prairie Tumbleweed Farm — Back in 1994 Linda Katz created a website which she named the Prairie Tumbleweed Farm. At the time it was just a joke. She didn't really have a tumbleweed farm. She had dreamed it up as something to do while teaching herself web design. But it turned out that there really are people out there who want to order tumbleweeds. For instance, movie studios or people hosting wild-west parties. And they started to place orders for tumbleweeds with Linda. Now, according to Yahoo! News, Linda is…
Posted: Thu Nov 29, 2007.   Comments (8)

What’s in a name — Qamar Mohammed Malik, a Pakistan-born engineer, submitted his CV to the Amec Group construction company, but was told that the company had no suitable vacancies. He then submitted a similar CV with inferior qualifications, but using a fake Welsh name, Rhyddir Aled Lloyd-Hilbert. This time he was told there was a job vacancy and was offered an interview. Malik has now filed a lawsuit against the Amec Group, accusing the company of racism. The company defends itself, saying that, ""Mr…
Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2007.   Comments (7)

$3 trillion in bonds could be fake — Police in the Philippines have found a chest in a banana grove that contains $3 trillion in Federal reserve notes and certificates. However, they're warning that the notes could be counterfeit. From Cebu Daily News: The chest which is 27.3 inches long, 10 inches wide and 14.4 inches in height has the markings of Federal Reserve Bank, Cleveland,Ohio, series of 1934. Total Face Value: three trillion USA.” On top of the markings was an engraved seal of the United States. The opened…
Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2007.   Comments (4)

Enormous Green Diamond Found — A Cape Town property developer, Brett Jolly, is claiming that a mine he owns shares in has found what could be the largest diamond ever, weighing in at 7000 carats. Plus, it's green. By contrast, the largest diamond found to date is only 3106.75 carats. And the largest green diamond only 40.7 carats. Initial reports said that this new diamond was as big as a soccer ball, but a photo of it has now been released, and in the photo it doesn't look quite that large. I'd say it looks only…
Posted: Wed Aug 29, 2007.   Comments (12)

Fake Money For Strippers — Damon Armagost probably thought he had a pretty good scam going. He had printed up some fake $100 bills from an image he downloaded off the internet. He was then using this counterfeit money to pay for lap dances at a strip club. He must have thought the strippers would never notice the money was fake. Unfortunately for him, they did and alerted the police, who arrested Armagost and charged him with manufacturing and passing counterfeit currency. Carl Sifakis, in his book Hoaxes and…
Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2007.   Comments (7)

Fake Lottery Winner Disappears — Fergus Frater told everyone he had won the Euro lottery jackpot. His son was so pleased, believing that his dad would cut him in on a share of the winnings, that he quit his job. Frater's sister also looked forward to getting some of the money. But then the REAL winner of the lottery stepped forward with the winning ticket, and Fergus promptly did a runner, skipping town to avoid the wrath of his relatives. Pretending to win the lottery is, of course, not a new hoax. Our own Cranky…
Posted: Mon Aug 20, 2007.   Comments (2)

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