The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Con Artists
Aleksey Vayner — Well, this was brought to my attention by both Outeast and Goobermaster (Thanks, guys.) and, now that I have a new computer that's able to show videos without shutting down, I can see why. Aleksey Vayner sent his resume to an investment bank. He's going to be a class of '07 Yalie, and he's looking for a job. Fair enough. However, along with the resume and covering letter he attached a video. That would be when the fuss started. The IvyGate blog - one which covers events in the Ivy…
Posted: Thu Oct 12, 2006.   Comments (20)

Nigerian Bulldog Scam — The latest in the long series of what are known as 'Nigerian Scams' is one featuring bulldog puppies. Three red flags went up when Mindy Gorman enquired after a $500 bulldog advertised on the Savannah Morning News website. When she emailed the sellers, they replied with an announcement that the puppies had been sold, but: "... You're lucky to have mailed at this time because the puppy has just been placed on adoption by one of my customers, who went on a veterinarian work transfer…
Posted: Mon Oct 09, 2006.   Comments (398)

Quick Links: The Welsh Robin Hood, etc. — Was Robin Hood Welsh? American historian claims Robin Hood was Welsh, not English. Also that his real name was Bran. "He claims Robin would not have been able to hide out in Sherwood Forest because it would have been too small and well chartered." The Nottingham City Council says: "We laugh at this suggestion." Pastor Indicted For Faking Raffles We've learned not to trust internet lotteries. It looks like church lotteries are going the same way: "Rev. Robert J. Ascolese... would call…
Posted: Mon Sep 25, 2006.   Comments (6)

Con Artist Poses as Rock Star — A man identifying himself as Rob Valenti claimed to have been the guitarist for REO Speedwagon and managed to con two men out of hundreds of dollars. On Saturday, he contacted real estate agents, saying he was interested in purchasing property as a tax investment. After they'd showed him properties from $800,000 upwards, he started preliminary paperwork on at least two properties, before the agents bought him dinner and arranged for him to have a room for the night. That evening, he…
Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2006.   Comments (4)


Quick Links: Q-Ray, MIT, and Stupid Criminals — Q-Ray Made To Pay Remember the Q-Ray bracelet? There was a thread about it in the old forum. This "miracle bracelet" could do everything from curing arthritis to helping you win a marathon. Now a judge has slapped its inventor with a $22.5 million fine for false advertising. Turns out it couldn't do any of that stuff after all. Who would have thought? Woman Robs Bank With Toy Gun Another Stupid Criminal. Or perhaps a criminal suffering from senile dementia. A 79-year-old woman "walked…
Posted: Wed Sep 13, 2006.   Comments (11)

Quick Links: Stupid Criminals, etc. — Do you want to be a gigolo? Malaysian men promised that, for a fee, they can become well-paid gigolos. It's the old dream job scam. One sucker "was told to meet a client at a city hotel. He waited for hours until he spotted a Western women who seemed to be searching for someone. 'I thought she was my client so I approached her and introduced myself. To my surprise, instead of receiving words of welcome, I got cursed and insulted,' he told the daily." Dumb Robber #1 Forgets to bring bag…
Posted: Mon Aug 28, 2006.   Comments (11)

Magic Cheese — Status: Ponzi Scheme Chilean police have arrested a pair of con artists who had constructed an elaborate pyramid scheme based on the sale of "magic cheese". OhMyNews reports: The fraud consisted in selling people packs of "Yo Flex," a powder that, she claimed, would ferment milk into a special cheese. Giselle said that this "Magic Cheese" was the latest fashion in France, where women used it as a skin cosmetic, and which in Africa was used as a food supplement... In Chile, a pack of Yo…
Posted: Fri Jul 21, 2006.   Comments (16)

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)

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)

Breast Exam Scam — Status: News 76-year-old William Winikoff of Coconut Creek, Florida has been charged with lewd and lascivious conduct for posing as a doctor and offering women free breast exams. Remarkably, he duped at least two women with this scam: Carrying a black “doctor’s” bag, investigators claim Winnikoff walked up to a apartment building and told a 36-year-old woman, that he was in the neighborhood offering free breast exams. According to police, the woman let Winikoff into her apartment and…
Posted: Wed Apr 19, 2006.   Comments (17)

Boston Couple Eats Glass — Status: Insurance Scam When I was in elementary school, I often heard a rumor that if you ate chalk you could fake the symptoms of being sick, and thus not have to go to school. I never tried it, but this couple seems to have taken the same idea and advanced it a step further: A couple has been charged with filing fraudulent insurance claims that said they had eaten glass found in their food at restaurants, hotels and grocery stores, federal prosecutors said... The couple used aliases,…
Posted: Mon Apr 17, 2006.   Comments (2)

The Musuem of Hoaxes — Status: Typosquatter My wife just discovered this. If you misspell museumofhoaxes.com by switching he 'e' and the 'u' in museum (a very easy mistake to make), you'll arrive at The Musuem of Hoaxes, which contains links to info about museums. It's obviously a site created by a spammer hoping to profit off of people who are trying to get to the Museum of Hoaxes, but who aren't great spellers. I probably shouldn't link to this alternative version of the Museum (I'm only sending more…
Posted: Mon Apr 17, 2006.   Comments (13)

Mermaids and Bull Genitals Used to Find Missing Car — Status: Scam This leaves me at a complete loss for words. It's amazing: HARARE, Zimbabwe - A bogus traditional healer who persuaded a businesswoman to hire "mermaids" and accommodate them in a Harare hotel to help find a stolen car was convicted of theft by false pretenses, court officials said Tuesday... In Zimbabwe, where tribal superstition is deeply entrenched, prosecutors said Chizema persuaded Margaret Mapfumo to pay 200 million Zimbabwe dollars (about $30,000) to hire mermaids,…
Posted: Wed Mar 22, 2006.   Comments (11)

Fake Russian Music Degrees — Status: Fraud Korean investigators have uncovered a case of widespread degree fraud involving over 120 people who bought fake Russian music degrees from a woman "identified as Do": Do advertised her institute as a Korean campus of the Russian university and the Russian college dean came here along with a couple of other Russian professors for about 10 days a year to provide lessons,'' said a prosecutor... Prosecutors said that the fake degree holders registered their degrees at the…
Posted: Mon Mar 20, 2006.   Comments (11)

Thames Whale Watering Can on eBay — Status: Beware of fakes This is just pathetic: Opportunists have tried to capitalise on the hysteria surrounding the Thames whale by putting a bogus watering-can up for sale on eBay, with a starting price tag of £1,924. The unidentified owner insisted the item was used in the attempted rescue of the 19ft northern bottle-nosed female whale to keep her moist and comfortable. But the fake sale outraged the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, who spent 36 hours and £100,000 trying to save…
Posted: Wed Jan 25, 2006.   Comments (5)

The GTC Group Billion Dollar Trust — Status: Scam Here's an offer that has scam written all over it. The GTC Group (I'm kind of reluctant to link to their website, on the off chance that I'll help send a victim their way, but here it is) claims that if you agree to establish a trading account in their name (no money or fees required!), they will pay you, and 5000 other lucky volunteers, $24,000. They're circulating this claim via email. Here's how they explain the deal on their website: Our client is a family trust with…
Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2006.   Comments (23)

Nigerian Curse Scam — Status: Scam According to the Arab News, the Nigerian bank scam has taken on a new twist. The scammers no longer tell you that they want to transfer $30 million into your bank account, or that you've won the European lottery. Now they inform you that you've been cursed, and you need to pay up to have the curse lifted. They bypass email and phone you directly to tell you this: Abdul Rahman, sociology professor at Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud University, said he received one of these calls…
Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2006.   Comments (7)

Counterfeit Money Clogs Toilet — Status: Stupid Criminals A Colorado couple, realizing the police were onto their counterfeiting operation, tried to get rid of the incriminating evidence by flushing it all down the toilet. The results were predictable: There's dirty money associated with crime, then there's dirty money. Investigators encountered the latter on Thursday, when they discovered a rental duplex that had flooded with sewage when the tenants flushed at least $10,000 in suspected counterfeit money down a…
Posted: Sun Jan 08, 2006.   Comments (3)

$25 an Hour, Anyone Hired — Status: Probably a Ponzi Scheme Cranky Media Guy (aka Bob Pagani) noticed this story in the HawkEye about a job offer that sounds an awful lot like a Ponzi Scheme. Terrie Brown, who owns a limousine business in Burlington, Iowa, is offering to hire absolutely anyone at the rate of $25 an hour. Here's the part of her offer that sounds like a scam: The hiring process includes filling out an application and then paying a $10 processing fee, according to Brown. Everyone who fills out an…
Posted: Sun Jan 08, 2006.   Comments (2)

Plymouth Rock Pieces on eBay — Status: Scam According to legend, Plymouth Rock was the first thing the pilgrims set foot upon when they landed in Massachusetts. I think that the rock itself is now on display in Plymouth. But United Press International reports that pieces of the Rock are popping up on eBay where they're fetching as much as $900. The catch is that there's absolutely no way to verify that these really are pieces of the original Plymouth Rock. A lot of people did carve off chunks of Plymouth Rock during…
Posted: Mon Nov 28, 2005.   Comments (13)

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