The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Email Hoaxes
Strunkenwhite or Pluperfect Virus Hoax — This particularly nasty virus will infect your computer and not allow you to send out any emails that contain grammatical or spelling mistakes. The scary thing is imagining that someone would receive this and not recognize it as a joke.
Posted: Thu May 13, 2004.   Comments (2)

Swiffer Wet Jet Pet Rumor — Teresa wrote in to ask about the truth of that email rumor going around alleging that the Swiffer Wet Jet cleaning fluid contains antifreeze and can be fatal to pets (you can read the full text of that email rumor here). Swiffer itself addresses this rumor on its corporate website, so it can be pretty easily debunked. It's totally false. But since I'm on the subject of Swiffers, I've got to note something about them that I find incredibly annoying... how you can only use Swiffer brand…
Posted: Mon May 10, 2004.   Comments (124)

Will the real Ella Schultz please stand up? — Ella Schultz, an elderly black woman living in Kentwood, Michigan, is quite the emailer. Over the past year she's been shooting off emails to teachers, school administrators, and even a few journalists. But it turns out that Ella isn't actually real. The person actually sending those emails was Edward Kape, a Kentwood Board of Education member (who has now resigned). Or at least, he was one of the people using 'Ella Schultz' as their nom de plume. He insists there were others, though…
Posted: Mon Apr 26, 2004.   Comments (5)

Ground Control to Major Abacha Tunde — The Register has posted a great Nigerian Bank Scam email that it received. I get these emails all the time, and typically they come from people claiming to be either relatives of (or bankers of) deposed third world leaders who have huge amounts of money trapped in a bank account somewhere. They need your help to move the money out of the country. But this email that the Register received claims to come from a relative of a Nigerian astronaut trapped in space. He has a huge amount of…
Posted: Sun Apr 18, 2004.   Comments (0)


New Retirement Plan — My wife received this note in an email at work. Sadly, even though it's a joke, the advice it offers seems quite sensible: New Retirement Plan: If you had purchased $1000.00 of Nortel stock one year ago, it would now be worth $49.00. With Enron, you would have $16.50 left of the original $1,000.00. With WorldCom, you would have less than $5.00 left. But, if you had purchased $1,000.00 worth of Beer one year ago, drank all the beer, then turned in the cans for the aluminum recycling…
Posted: Wed Apr 14, 2004.   Comments (2)

Google Launches Gmail — Google has announced a new email service called Gmail, that will give each user one gigabyte of free storage. Strangely, the press release is dated April 1, leading many to speculate that it's an April Fool's Day joke. Maybe it is, but if so it would seem a very odd one. Usually April Fool's Day jokes involve a certain minimum level of wit, and you should feel foolish for believing them once you find out they're a joke. But if someone were to tell me that Gmail is a joke, I wouldn't…
Posted: Thu Apr 01, 2004.   Comments (11)

More Spam on April 1st — Makers of network security software are warning that there may be an increase in spam leading up to April Fool's Day. "Spammers are expected to use subject lines such as "great joke," "free jokes," "prank," or "April fools" to entice users into opening attachments that carry viruses or objectionable content, potentially putting company networks at risk."
Posted: Tue Mar 30, 2004.   Comments (0)

The Irish Virus hoax — This is just dumb. You receive an email with the following message: Greetings, You have just received the "IRISH VIRUS". As we don't have any programming experience, this Virus works on the honour system. Please delete all the files on your hard drive manually and forward this Virus to everyone on your mailing list. Thank you for your cooperation. I think I've seen other versions of it that attribute it to other ethnicities/social groups. There's more info about it over at symantec.com.…
Posted: Sat Feb 21, 2004.   Comments (5)

Telephone Liars vs. Email Liars — A study reported on in the New Scientist has found that people lie more when they're talking on the telephone than they do when writing emails. The reason is that people are conscious of the fact that emails are saved and could come back to haunt them later, whereas telephone conversations don't tend to be recorded. Of course, this doesn't mean that more of the telephone calls we receive contain lies than the emails we receive. Just the opposite. Every day I'm flooded with emails that…
Posted: Sat Feb 14, 2004.   Comments (0)

Bank of England Email Hoax — During the past week many people received an email apparently from the Bank of England. It read: "Dear customer. The security of your personal and account information is extremely important to us. By practising good security habits, you can help us ensure that your private information is protected. Please install our special software that will remove all the keyloggers and backdoors from your computer." The email, of course, was a hoax. Thankfully, those who went ahead and installed the…
Posted: Thu Jan 01, 2004.   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)

Nigerian Email Conference — John Walkenbach points out on his weblog that the Third Annual Nigerian Email Conference begins tomorrow in Abuja. I'm bummed that I can't make it.
Posted: Thu Nov 06, 2003.   Comments (1)

Single Black Female Looking for Love — An email has been making the rounds that appears to be a personal ad from a 'single black female' who's looking for love. Daisy, as the mystery female calls herself, promises that she loves to play and, if she finds the right man, will be willing to wait at home for him 'wearing only what nature gave me.' Thousands of men have called up the number listed in the email, only to find themselves connected to the Atlanta Humane Society. Daisy is, of course, a black Labrador. Here's the text…
Posted: Tue Sep 30, 2003.   Comments (4)

Don’t Get Back into Your Car While Refueling — There's an email going around warning people not to reenter their car while filling the tank at a gas station. Doing so might create a spark that will set the gas fumes on fire, causing a flash fire. Now this sounds like some kind of urban legend, but Mike Davis at CarConnection.com, who's done some research into the subject, warns that the danger is small but real.
Posted: Sun Sep 14, 2003.   Comments (0)

Inner Peace — Here's a silly email that's going around. Not a hoax. Just a joke: Inner Peace I'm passing this along to you as I consider you a valued friend. This worked for me and I think it may work for you. I have found Inner Peace. Recently I read an article that stated: The best way to achieve inner peace is to Finish Things You Have Started. So today I finished two large bags of potato chips, the last half of a lemon cream pie, a nearly full bottle of Jose Cuervo, a small box of Godiva…
Posted: Mon Aug 18, 2003.   Comments (0)

Hotmail Hoax — To all users of Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc. If you ever get an email claiming to be from your service provider warning you that you need to forward the email you just received "so that we know you are still using this account," then it's a hoax. Variations of this hoax have actually been around a long, long time, but people are still falling for it.
Posted: Thu Aug 14, 2003.   Comments (3)

More About the Mystery Time Traveler — David Emery, at About.com, has dug up some interesting clues about the time-travel spammer. He notes that an authentic mind warper generator was once offered for sale on eBay, as well as a Generation 4 Dimensional Warp Generator. Bidding on these items has closed. He also notes that there's speculation that the mystery spammer is a well-known, Woburn-based spammer named Robert Todino, since the mystery spammer states that he lives in the Woburn area. But someone who wrote to me claims…
Posted: Thu Aug 07, 2003.   Comments (0)

Time Traveler Needs Help — There's an email going around claiming to be from a time traveler stuck in the year 2003 who needs a dimensional warp generator to get back home. Lots of people, myself included, are wondering what exactly this email is, and why someone is going to the trouble of bulk-mailing it to millions of people.
Posted: Sat Aug 02, 2003.   Comments (0)

Fake Website Scam Warning — The FBI says: beware fake websites. They're calling it the 'Phisher' scam. You receive an email that lures you to what you think is a legitimate website run by a real company (though it's not). Then you're tricked into divulging your personal information (credit card info, etc.)
Posted: Sun Jul 27, 2003.   Comments (0)

The Naked Chef — An email going around claims to contain, as an attachment, the next cookbook by Jamie Oliver (aka The Naked Chef). It's actually just a mock-up, containing recipes from his previous book. But I'm bummed that I haven't received this email yet.
Posted: Sun Jul 27, 2003.   Comments (0)

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