The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Con Artists
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)

Fraud in Other Words — I've mentioned Larry Adams's book before, Fraud in Other Words, but I was reading through it again tonight and thought it deserved another mention. The book is an exploration of the language of fraud. Adams has collected together all the jargon and terminology of the culture of fraud, and as you flip through the book you come across one devious scam and ploy after another. For instance, I've always thought it was annoying how those subscription cards fall out of magazines when I'm…
Posted: Sat Sep 06, 2003.   Comments (0)

Crime Never Pays — An accountant fakes cancer in order to avoid a five-month prison term. Gets found out, and is now looking at the possibility of a 50-year term instead.
Posted: Sat Sep 06, 2003.   Comments (0)

Genuine Holy Water from Lourdes — Scam Alert! A company is sending out spam directing people to a website (http://www.0te.com/3) that sells genuine Holy Water from Lourdes. They boast that it's a miracle cure. "Holy Water can save you where medicine failed!" they proclaim. And it's yours for only $39.95. I'm tempted to believe that if you pony up $39.95 they really will send you genuine holy water from Lourdes. That's not the scam. The scam is that you can head on over to lourdeswater.com and buy the same stuff for…
Posted: Mon Aug 04, 2003.   Comments (2)

Sucker Day Cancelled — I'm incredibly depressed. Sucker Day has been cancelled this year. That's like cancelling Christmas (well, not quite, but almost). In case you don't know about it, Sucker Day is a celebration held every year in the small town of Wetumka, Oklahoma, usually in the late summer. It commemorates the day in 1950 when the entire town was suckered by the con man J. Bam Morrison. Morrison arrived in town claiming to be the advanceman for a circus that would be arriving on July 24. People would…
Posted: Wed Jul 23, 2003.   Comments (1)

Death of a Con Artist — David Hampton, the man who conned New York socialites by posing as the son of Sidney Poitier, as well as being the inspiration for the play Six Degrees of Separation, died last month at the age of 39.
Posted: Tue Jul 22, 2003.   Comments (0)

Puppy Love — It sounded awful. Five puppies thrown onto the highway from a moving car. Tracy Lloyd claimed that she managed to save one of them, while other motorists scooped up the other four. Turns out the whole tale was bogus. Lloyd wasn't allowed to keep pets in her apartment, so she had made up a sob-story to convince her landlord to bend the rules for her. Her story was exposed when the person who sold the dog to her saw Lloyd telling about the highway incident on tv.
Posted: Thu Jul 10, 2003.   Comments (2)

The case of the non-existent child — An Australian woman invented the existence of a child in order to hit up her ex-boyfriend for child support. She even went so far as to provide him with pictures of the (fake) child, and dreamed up a costly medical condition that the kid was suffering from, which she, of course, wanted the boyfriend to pay for.
Posted: Fri Jul 04, 2003.   Comments (0)

A con gone wrong — What happens when criminals cross paths: A man sells a lump of valuable black bronze to a buyer for $64,000. But it turns out the money was counterfeit. No problem. The bronze was fake also.
Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2003.   Comments (0)

Mainline Airways — Mainline Airways was attracting lots of customers by offering super-low fares to Hawaii. But it turns out there was no Mainline Airways. Only a website created by a teenager.
Posted: Fri Jun 13, 2003.   Comments (0)

Fraud in other words — Check out the website of Larry Adams, CPA. He writes a regular column about the jargon and street slang of fraud. Much of this is shared on his website. For instance, we find there the definition of Fat-Finger Dialing: "Fat finger dialing scams take advantage of customers whose fingers are too large for the tiny buttons on the telephones. For example, a customer might unintentionally dial 1 (800) COLLETC, 1 (800) CULLECT, or 1 (800) CALLECT, instead of 1 (800) COLLECT. Class action…
Posted: Tue Jun 03, 2003.   Comments (0)

The Kingdom of Mombessa — The adventures of Baron Moncrieffe and the mythical Kingdom of Mombessa. The Baron turns out to be a con man, and the Kingdom doesn't exist.
Posted: Sun Jun 01, 2003.   Comments (0)

The French Rockefeller — Update on the criminal career of Christopher Rocancourt. He recently confessed to having scammed people by posing as a member of the Rockefeller family. Why people would have believed that a Rockefeller would be speaking with a thick French accent, I still can't understand.
Posted: Sat May 31, 2003.   Comments (1)

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