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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Business/Finance
Office Prankster — C.P. Smith, an editor at the Orange County Register, has accepted a buyout and will soon be leaving his job. And during his final days at work he's decided to become a prankster. After all, what can management do? Fire him? When interviews are being filmed in the paper's offices, he becomes "loud, disruptive, and performs antics for the camera." Here's one of his antics, as described by the KOCE-TV news director: During an interview, which will air tonight, with Register reporter John…
Posted: Thu Aug 09, 2007.   Comments (5)

Sale of Fake Manure on the Rise — I found this news story from India intriguing: Farmers in and around Ooty have expressed concern over the sale of fake organic manure in some fertilizer shops and also by some private parties involved in the fertilizer trade. KN Bhudhi, a farmer of Nanjanad village near here said, "Some fertilizer traders from Thiruchengode area came to our village and sold organic manure. I bought it with the hope that it would enhance yielding capacity. I spent Rs 36,000 to purchase that manure, but…
Posted: Fri Aug 03, 2007.   Comments (8)

Rent a Pet — FlexPetz is a San Diego-based company that allows people to rent out dogs by the day. So if you want to be able to take a dog to the beach on the weekend, but you don't have time to care for it during the week, this is the service for you. Marlena Cervantes, the founder of the company, doesn't like the term "rent-a-pet," according to this AP article. Instead, she likes to think of what she's offering as "shared pet ownership." The service is quite pricey, but it's doubtless cheaper…
Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2007.   Comments (17)

A “faster Internet” scam/hoax — So, this guy tells people he has a "revolutionary" technology that speeds up downloading from the Internet by a factor of maybe a hundred times or more. With it, you can download a full-length movie in seconds. He's had meetings with the President and vice-President about it and is working on ways to use it to beef up national security. Who wouldn't invest in a thing like that? He even wheedles money out of his relatives and his wife's family. OK, you can see where this is going,…
Posted: Mon Jul 02, 2007.   Comments (12)


Heir Hunters — I receive a lot of email from people I've never heard of telling me that I've won a lottery, have inherited a small fortune, or have otherwise been selected to receive a large amount of cash. Just this morning, for instance, I found out that I had won the "Irish National Lottery" and that the "Ecobank/United Nations Scam Victims Compensation Fund" had decided to pay me $100,000. The money just keeps pouring in. Typically I delete these emails without a second thought, recognizing them…
Posted: Wed Jun 20, 2007.   Comments (23)

God Metal Scam — Swindlers conned a Vietnamese businessman into buying $25,000 worth of "God Metal." Apparently, the existence of God Metal is an old folk legend in Vietnam. According to Thanh Nien News: ‘God metal’, also known as ‘black copper’, is almost a myth in Vietnam. Those who claim to have seen it say it is extremely heavy but floats in an iron bucket of water. In its vicinity glass shatters, matches and lighters do not ignite, iron nails are repelled, and gold turns white. The mark for the…
Posted: Sat Jun 09, 2007.   Comments (4)

Myexcusedabsence.com — Way back when -- almost four years ago -- I posted a brief entry about a doctor who was providing people with fake doctor notes. I titled the entry "Fake Doctor Notes," and soon, for some reason, that post became the number one result on google for the keywords "fake doctor notes." As a result, the comments began to fill with people asking me to provide them with fake notes. This went on for years. I'm sure the moderators remember it well. It only ended when we finally disabled…
Posted: Thu May 31, 2007.   Comments (21)

How much of the legend of the 17th-Century tulipmania is true? — The tulip craze that hit Holland in the seventeenth century is arguably the most famous financial bubble in all of history. According to the popular account of what happened, prices for tulips began to go through the roof in 1636 as word spread that wealthy people were willing to pay huge sums of money for tulips. Soon the general population joined in the speculative fervor, many people using their life savings in order to buy bulbs, believing they could resell them at windfall…
Posted: Mon May 14, 2007.   Comments (13)

Japanese Poodle Scam Revealed as Hoax — The Japanese poodle scam - wherein thousands of gullible buyers were sold lambs instead of the dogs they were expecting - was first reported in UK Sun newspaper. The story went that rich women were buying cut-price poodles from a company named Poodles For Pets, and were astonished to find later that they were sheep. The story itself was immediately dubious (aside from being in The Sun, which tends to be somewhat lax in the fact-checking department), when you consider snippets like:
Posted: Wed May 02, 2007.   Comments (5)

Quick Links: Cow Intestines, etc. — Truck Spills 40 Tons of Cow Intestines The title is self-explanatory. Thanks to Big Gary for forwarding the story. He notes, "Nothing hoax-y about this; just more evidence that civilization is doomed." Woman Fakes Heart Attack To Fight Off Intruder The obvious problem with this tactic is that it relies upon the intruder being decent enough to help you out. What if you fake a heart attack, and the intruder just lets you flop around while he continues to rob your house? Fake Blogging to…
Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2007.   Comments (14)

Quick Links: Pac-Man Hits the Road, etc. — Pac-Man Hits The Road Wright County sheriff Gary Miller was amused to see that, where Highway 55 has painted ovals on the road to show drivers how far apart they should be, some anonymous artist had added a Pac-Man. Man Made to Wear 'I AM A LIAR' Sign Having lied to the police about having been abducted, Craig Breuwet was made to walk up and down a busy street wearing a sign stating 'I AM A LIAR', rather than facing trial. Fake $1,000 Water Bills A suburban NY village, frustrated at…
Posted: Sat Dec 23, 2006.   Comments (6)

Quick Links: Fake Bill Bills, Vampire Teeth, etc. — Fake Bill Man arrested for trying to pass a fake "Bill" bill: "The bill was unmistakably fake due to the fact that the ink was running on the bill, the president's face was missing and for the president's name, it had the name Clinton on it," said Deputy Nathan Stephens. About time a Clinton bill has surfaced. We've already seen too many of those phony Bush Bills. Case of the Inhaled Vampire Tooth Because of Halloween this news story has been going around. Back in 1995 Josh Anderson…
Posted: Wed Nov 01, 2006.   Comments (17)

Billboard Dollars Disappear — Sportsbook.com placed $100,000 in one-dollar bills inside a plexiglass box on a billboard in Las Vegas. Putting the money there was a publicity stunt to promote their betting business. As part of the stunt, they allowed people to bet on whether or not the money would be stolen from the billboard. And lo and behold, while a guard was on a break a thief somehow broke into the box and took off with some of the money. Although the theft itself sounds like a continuation of the publicity…
Posted: Sat Sep 09, 2006.   Comments (28)

Doctor Who Currency — Status: Weird News As a long-time Doctor Who fan, I couldn't resist posting about this. It seems there's some phony British currency circulating around on which the Queen has been replaced by Doctor Who. The faux £10 notes bear the inscription "I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of 10 satsumas." Apparently the notes were created by the BBC for use during a scene in which the Doctor causes an ATM machine to start spewing money out into the street. Instead of using real money,…
Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2006.   Comments (10)

Auto Dealer Scams — Status: Useful stuff to know if you're buying a car Florida businessman Earl Stewart has started a blog, Earl Stewart On Cars, that's full of useful insights about the auto industry. Some of his observations about auto dealer scams and deceptive sales tactics are particularly interesting. Here's a few of them: • The “Big Sale Event”. If you look in today’s newspaper, you will find that most car dealers in your area are having a sale of some kind. It may be because of a current holiday,…
Posted: Wed Jul 19, 2006.   Comments (14)

Million-Dollar Bill Tracts Seized — Status: Strange News Earlier this month the Secret Service raided the offices of the Great News Network (a Texas ministry) and seized 8300 inspirational tracts. The problem with the tracts? They were printed on million-dollar bills. I would say fake million-dollar bills, but since there's no such thing as real million-dollar bills, there can't exactly be fake ones either. However, the Secret Service felt they looked a little bit too much like real currency for comfort. Reportedly…
Posted: Tue Jun 13, 2006.   Comments (114)

Stock Performance Tied To Ease Of Pronouncing Company’s Name — Status: Unusual Research There's nothing hoaxy about this story. It's just another example of how non-rational people can be... especially investors in the stock market. Two Princeton researchers, Adam Alter and Danny Oppenheimer, have discovered that the ease with which a company's name and its ticker symbol can be pronounced has a strong short-term effect on the performance of its stock. In other words, "a stock with the symbol BAL should outperform one with the symbol BDL in the…
Posted: Fri Jun 02, 2006.   Comments (4)

BioPerformance Goes to Court — Status: Pyramid scheme unravels Thanks to Joe for sending along some links about the ongoing downfall of BioPerformance, Inc. (discussed in the hoax forum in this thread about fuel additives). To summarize briefly: BioPerformance seems to be a classic case of a pyramid scheme. The people at the top of the pyramid were convincing suckers to pay for the privilege of selling little green pills that supposedly, when placed in a car's gas tank, yielded "vast improvements in mileage,…
Posted: Fri Jun 02, 2006.   Comments (33)

Plastic Assets Follow-Up — Status: follow-up info about a hoax A month ago I posted about Plastic Assets, a faux credit card company offering free breast implants as a sign-up bonus. I noted that the site was an entrant in the Contagious Festival, a contest to create a high-traffic parody site. Now Plastic Assets has officially won the contest, receiving five times more visitors than its closest competitor. And the media, typically late to the party, are announcing that the site has just been revealed to be a…
Posted: Thu Apr 06, 2006.   Comments (4)

Strange Tax Deductions — Status: Tax Scams With April 15th fast approaching, taxpayers are once again scheming to dream up all kinds of deductions they can take. Bankrate.com has a list of some unusual ones (Thanks to Kathy for the link), such as: • The guy who claimed his dog as a dependent • The man who tried to claim a sperm donation as a 'depletion allowance' • The furniture-store owner who hired an arsonist to burn his business down so that he could claim the insurance, and then deducted the $10,000 he…
Posted: Tue Apr 04, 2006.   Comments (17)

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