The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Con Artists
Lost Pet Scam — Occasionally you see news stories like this one about lost cats who are found hundreds of miles from home, having got themselves locked into moving vans by accident. But watch out. If you lose your cat, then later get a call from movers who say they've found your pet in their van, it can be a scam. As the Crimes-of-Persuasion site details, it's known as the Catastrophic Lost Pet Scam. Those movers don't really have your pet. They're just con artists trying to get you to wire them 'gas…
Posted: Wed Oct 20, 2004.   Comments (3)

Stupid Counterfeiters — How not to run a counterfeit money scam. a) Buy merchandise at Wal-Mart with fake money. b) Return merchandise a few days later and ask for your money back. c) get your fake money handed back to you.
Posted: Tue Oct 05, 2004.   Comments (3)

Lonely Hearts Scam — So out of the blue this girl from Russia sends you an email via Yahoo Personals. The two of you start corresponding. She sends you her picture... and she's really freakin' hot! Then she says she wants to call you. But she also insists that you give her your mailing address and full name. Why would she need that? So the question is: are you being set up to be scammed? If so, then what's the scam? That's the real-life question facing Johnny over at LiveJournal. I don't know exactly what…
Posted: Sat Sep 04, 2004.   Comments (14)

Saudi Princess from Buffalo — She said she was Princess Antoinette Millard from Saudi Arabia. She was actually from Buffalo, New York. But somehow she managed to con her way into millions of dollars. Her cover was blown when she filed fake insurance claims. It's amazing how the old fake princess con never seems to go out of style.
Posted: Mon May 10, 2004.   Comments (0)


Get That Degree You Want, Now — I had come to think I was never going to get my Ph.D., but I shouldn't have been so pessimistic. All I need to do is lower my standards a bit and sign up for one of those PhDs that Saint Regis University is practically giving away. A Georgia math teacher did, and she got a $16,000 pay raise. Or you could save even more money and get any degree you want, from any institution of higher learning, from BogusPhD.com.
Posted: Fri May 07, 2004.   Comments (0)

Job Scam With Strippers — Here's an inventive scam. A Miami couple placed ads in newspapers offering $5000 a week for the job of chauffeuring strippers around. They got 43 applicants to wire them deposits of almost $1000 in order to secure this nonexistent dream job. Of course, they could probably have said, pay us $5000 a week and we'll let you drive strippers around, and they would have still netted some victims.
Posted: Tue Apr 27, 2004.   Comments (0)

Spacey’s Faux Mugging — Kevin Spacey has recanted on his claim that he was mugged in a London park at 4 am and had his cellphone stolen. What he meant to say was that he voluntarily handed over his phone to someone who asked if they could use it to call their mother, but instead ran away with it. Then Spacey tripped over his dog and cut his head. Not quite the same. But saying you were mugged sounds a little more respectable than admitting you fell for what is, quite literally, the oldest con in the book (the…
Posted: Mon Apr 19, 2004.   Comments (3)

Imaginary Mail-Order Brides — Buying imaginary girlfriends is the trendy new thing nowadays. So this entrepreneur figured he'd shake things up a little and sell imaginary mail-order brides. Unfortunately, the guys who shelled out $1500 a piece for the brides weren't very thrilled that they were just imaginary.
Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2004.   Comments (0)

The JFK-Marilyn Monroe Correspondence — Lex Cusack is in jail for selling love letters supposedly written in 1961 by JFK to Marilyn Monroe. The problem is that the letters contained zip codes, and zip codes only came into use in 1963. Now the FBI wants to destroy all the letters, and Cusack is crying foul. He argues that even if the letters are fake (he continues to claim they're real), they're still his property and the government can't just destroy them.
Posted: Sun Mar 14, 2004.   Comments (2)

Million Dollar Bill — Apparently in a bid to secure the title of 'Stupidest Criminal Ever,' a woman, Alice Regina Pike, handed a clerk at WalMart a $1,000,000 bill and asked to cash it. The clerk refused, so then Ms. Pike tried to buy $1,675 worth of merchandise with the bill. Still no luck. Finally the cops were called in and the woman was taken away. She probably would have had more luck if she had tried with monopoly money, or perhaps one of those $200 George Bush bills.
Posted: Wed Mar 10, 2004.   Comments (0)

Is John Edward a fake? — It seems like whenever I turn on the SciFi channel, there's John Edward talking to the dead. I don't really care if he actually can talk to the dead or not (I assume he can't). I'm more concerned by the fact that his show is boring. But on the start of his Australian tour, a man has sued him, claiming that Edward's show violates the Trade Practices Act which stipulates that suppliers of goods can't make claims that they can't substantiate. In this case, Edward claims he can talk to the…
Posted: Sat Feb 21, 2004.   Comments (91)

Glencullen University — Alan Williams, a professor at Southwestern Adventist University, received a Ph.D. from Glencullen University. For some reason, he didn't think it odd that Glencullen had no campus, no faculty, and required him to do nothing to earn the degree. In reality, Glencullen didn't even exist. Despite its Irish name and Irish-themed website, it's just a diploma mill based in Romania. Williams claims that he's shocked, shocked to learn this. For some reason, I don't know why, it's hard to…
Posted: Sat Feb 14, 2004.   Comments (5)

Bad Santa — I saw the movie Bad Santa last week and loved it. Now here's a case of a real-life bad santa who's scamming businesses in Mississippi by pretending to be collecting money for charity.
Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2003.   Comments (0)

Nigerian Navy Recruitment Scam — Just when we had all gotten used to those Nigerian email scams that fill up our inboxes every day, the Nigerian criminal class has gone back to the drawing board and come up with an entirely new way to con people out of money: it's the Nigerian Navy Recruitment Scam. Nigerian fraud artists are circulating fake documents that appear to be recruitment forms for the Nigerian Navy. I'm at a loss to see how exactly they make money out of this, but I'm sure they have a way. Meanwhile, the…
Posted: Mon Dec 08, 2003.   Comments (47)

Catch Him If You Can — A modern-day 'Catch Me If You Can' criminal is on the run in Australia. He cons women out of money by posing as a pilot. Except that Frank Abagnale was a teenager when he posed as a pilot, whereas this guy is in his 30s.
Posted: Fri Nov 14, 2003.   Comments (0)

Fake Lawyer — Here's a pretty outrageous con. A convicted drug dealer has been caught posing as a lawyer and operating a Central Florida law firm while still in the custody of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. Evidently he only has to spend the night in jail, but every morning he wakes up, hops into his Mercedes, and drives off to his day job as a fake lawyer, from which he's been raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars. I wonder if he'll act as his own lawyer at his trial.
Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2003.   Comments (0)

Clooney Gets Kaycee Nicoled — While I was gone, George Clooney apparently got conned by a woman who told him that her daughter, Cindy, had cancer. When Clooney offered to visit, he got a call from the mother telling him that Cindy had died. Evidently Cindy had never existed. She was just a ploy on the woman's part to get Clooney's attention. Somewhat parallel to the Kaycee Nicole Simpson case.
Posted: Sat Oct 18, 2003.   Comments (0)

Fake Car Crashes — One car crashes. Nineteen people claim they were passengers in it. Police suspect something is up. What happens when people fake their own car crash. And in other auto-fraud news, 47 people arrested in an auto-insurance scam.
Posted: Tue Sep 30, 2003.   Comments (0)

The Collect-Trash-for-Charity Hoax — Schoolchildren in Gloucester, England were fooled by a hoax, versions of which have been around for decades. They received an email message telling them that if they collected 3 kilograms of empty Walker chips packages, then Walker Chips would pay for the treatment of a child born without an arm. The kids collected all the packages of chips, only to learn that Walker Chips had never made such an offer. Like I said, versions of this hoax have happened many times before. They often…
Posted: Wed Sep 24, 2003.   Comments (0)

$200 George Bush Bills — This story has been getting quite a lot of attention. On Sep. 6, 2003 a man paid for $150 in groceries at a Food Lion in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina with a phony $200 bill bearing George W. Bush's portrait. The bill showed a white house with signs on its lawn reading 'we like ice cream' and 'USA deserves a tax cut.' The cashier accepted the bill and gave $50 change. The Smoking Gun was able to actually get a picture of the $200 bill used in the transaction. What most people don't…
Posted: Mon Sep 15, 2003.   Comments (3)

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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.