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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Email Hoaxes
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)

Potential new risk from mobile phones — Status: Partially true, partially fake Dipankar Mitra sent me this graphic which is circulating via email, warning of a "Potential new risk from mobile phones." He notes that it's accompanied by a caption that reads: Please use left ear while using cell (mobile), because if you use the right one it will affect brain directly. This is a true fact from Apollo medical team. Please forward to all your well wishers He asks, "Do let me know if it is real or hoax..." Well, the caption is…
Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2006.   Comments (8)

Email Warns of Hidden Camera in Tanning Salons — Status: Hoax A small British newspaper reports that tanning salons in New Eltham (which, I guess, is a suburb of London) are being targeted by a hoax email warning that hidden cameras are snapping photos of women as they tan. The email is accompanied by "dozens of revealing pictures of naked women using tanning beds, who are obviously unaware they are being photographed." (Two of the pictures are below.) The article continues: Angry women who use tanning beds are circulating the…
Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2005.   Comments (14)

The Palace of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan — Status: Email hoax (real pictures, fake caption)Bad: Falling for an email hoax. Worse: Using the hoax as the basis for your presentation to the local city planning commission, thereby displaying your gullibility to the entire public. As reported by the Muncie Star Press (no link), Don Love gets the award for doing the latter. He received an email containing a series of pictures of an opulent estate (shown below), with the caption: In case you're wondering where this hotel is, it isn't…
Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005.   Comments (69)


The Power of Makeup — Status: Viral email Pasted below is the content of an email that's going around. It's not a hoax, but it deals with issues of camouflage and deception. (It also reminds me of some Before and After pictures that I posted over a year ago.) The subject line of the email is: Never underestimate the power of makeup.
Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2005.   Comments (29)

Miss International’s Nanny Speech — Status: Probably a hoax Last month Precious Lara Quigaman, Miss Philippines, was crowned as the 2005 Miss International. An email now going around relates a story about her answer to a question asked during the final round: Precious Lara Quigaman, the Miss Philippines who took home the 2005 Miss International crown, was asked during the final round the following question: What do you say to the people of the world who have typecasted filipinos as nannies? Precious Lara replied, “I take…
Posted: Wed Oct 19, 2005.   Comments (8)

Suicide Jumper — Warning: Graphic. This is from an email going around: A police officer sent this to me. It is not for the faint of heart. If you have a weak stomach, then don't look at the URL. It is a picture of the demise of a suicide jumper taken shortly after he landed. It shows him with his insides now on the outside. You will see the look of horror on the faces of the bystanders. The faces of the bystanders is why I believe this is real.. http://hoaxes.org/images/Jumper.jpg
Posted: Fri Apr 22, 2005.   Comments (31)

Mushroom Licenses — Are you soon going to need a license to pick wild mushrooms in Illinois? That was what an email press release that circulated around last week stated. The email claimed that mushroom hunters would have to get a license from the same vendors that sell hunting and fishing licenses, and that revenue from the license sales would benefit biological and archaeological research in Illinois. The email prompted dozens of people to call the Illinois Natural Resources Department to complain. Today…
Posted: Tue Apr 05, 2005.   Comments (4)

Free Champagne — A new variation of the email tracing hoax has been spotted. Instead of promising that Bill Gates or AOL will send you money if you forward their email, this message promises that you'll get champagne. Here's the email: Greetings Champagne Lovers!! Send this message to 10 people, with a copy to champagne@veuve-clicquot.fr Veuve Clicquot France will contact you in order to deliver you a case of champagne in three weeks. They are doing this in order to enlarge their database. It does work…
Posted: Mon Feb 14, 2005.   Comments (4)

Waiting for Mr. Tsunami — I found this posted in the alt.folklore.urban usenet group: A while before the catastrophe, a local clerk in one of the countries hit by the tsunamis receives a warning note stating "Tsunami will reach you shortly!" - and, in response, sends a welcome crew to the local airport, to welcome and pick up the mysterious "Mr Tsunami", whom he expects to be an unannounced ministerial visitor or inspector. I don't understand why a clerk would have received a message warning him about the…
Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2005.   Comments (3)

Actual Headlines From 2004 — I received an email containing this list of THE YEAR'S BEST [ACTUAL] HEADLINES OF 2004! But, of course, these aren't really headlines from 2004. This list has been going around for at least four years. Check out this competition from 2000 in which people created images to match some of these headlines. Plus, I doubt any of these were ever actual headlines either.Crack Found on Governor's Daughter.Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says.Police Begin Campaign to Run Down…
Posted: Wed Jan 05, 2005.   Comments (7)

Faye Nicole San Juan — The story of Faye Nicole San Juan has received quite a bit of coverage in the Philippine press, but almost none here in America. Word of Faye Nicole began spreading through the Filipino community around the end of October, via an email titled "Misplaced priorities can mislead a nation." It was all about how the Philippines had supposedly let down 12-year-old Faye Nicole. Faye was a young girl hoping to represent her country in the International Science Quiz in Brisbane, Australia.…
Posted: Fri Nov 19, 2004.   Comments (9)

Rectoscalar Wave — Here's a strange email hoax that reportedly is spreading around India: Tonight a rectoscalar wave is passing at 10.25 pm, Indian Standard Time.... This causes damage in mobiles and computers..... So switch off your mobiles and computers at the specified time... This has been published in todays The Hindu paper also.... Keep fwd this message to your friends and loved ones..... Is there even such a thing as a rectoscalar wave? I did a google search and didn't pull up anything.…
Posted: Wed Nov 03, 2004.   Comments (19)

Safe and Secure — Here's an amusing email that's making the rounds: I want to thank all of you! To all my friends and family, Thank you for making me safe, secure, blessed, and wealthy by sending me your chain letters over the last year. Because of your concern: I no longer drink Coca Cola because it can remove toilet stains. I no longer drink Pepsi or Dr Pepper since the people who make these products are atheists who refuse to put "Under God" on their cans. I no longer drink anything out of a can…
Posted: Fri Oct 08, 2004.   Comments (18)

Simpsons House Hoax — According to News.com.au an email has been circulating around Australia claiming that the town of South Morang has built a replica of the house where the Simpsons live. On the cartoon, Homer and Marge live on 742 Evergreen Terrace, and South Morang does have an Evergreen Drive. Apparently many Simpsons' fans have been spotted driving aimlessly around South Morang searching for the house. Unfortunately for these fans, the replica house doesn't exist. The email is a hoax. But if you're a…
Posted: Mon Oct 04, 2004.   Comments (16)

Hoax and Virus Card Game — Computer Beast is the name of the first ever card game based on computer viruses, worms, and hoaxes. I'm not quite sure how you play, but it involves cards that depict famous viruses such as the Sasser virus, or hoaxes such as Bonsai Kitten or the Bill Gates Fortune hoax. The game has been out in Germany for a while, but the English version is set to debut later this year. I'll definitely have to try to get my hands on one of these.
Posted: Thu Sep 30, 2004.   Comments (1)

Irish Personal Ads — A collection of Irish personal ads, supposedly culled from the Dublin News, is doing the email rounds. They're in the genre of Brutally Honest Personal Ads (I've reported on examples of this genre before). In this case, I'm guessing that the ads, if they really did appear in the Dublin News, were meant to be tongue-in-cheek (though I haven't seen the paper, so I can't really tell). But whatever the case may be, they're definitely quite funny. Here they are: Heavy drinker, 35, Cork…
Posted: Tue Aug 17, 2004.   Comments (5)

Test Your Phishing IQ — MailFrontier offers a short test that allows you to determine how easily you would fall for a phishing scam. I only got a score of 70%, so evidently I'm not as fraudproof as I thought.
Posted: Mon Aug 02, 2004.   Comments (13)

PayPal Class Action Suit — A study by an anti-spam firm called MailFrontier found that, on average, 28% of computer users are fooled by email scams. But intriguingly, 20% of users misidentify legitimate emails from companies such as PayPal as scams. This becomes relevant because a lot of people recently received an email informing them of the possibility of joining a class-action suit against PayPal (I got one of these emails in my inbox this morning). The suit is real. The email is legitimate. But quite a few…
Posted: Thu Jul 29, 2004.   Comments (5)

Origin of the Bill Gates Email Hoax — Displaying some very impressive sleuthing skills, Jonathon Keats has apparently solved the mystery of the origin of the ubiquitous Bill-Gates-will-pay-you-to-forward-this-email hoax. He writes about it in an article in Wired. He traced the origin of the hoax back to November 18, 1997 when Iowa State student Bryan Mack was sitting in a campus computer lab and created the first version of the email as a joke that he sent to a friend sitting beside him. It read: "My name is Bill Gates.…
Posted: Wed Jun 30, 2004.   Comments (29)

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