The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Law/Police/Crime
Your classmates aren’t looking for you — Classmates.com told Anthony Michaels that former classmates were looking for him. If only he would upgrade to a premium membership, they would put him in touch with his school buddies. So Michaels paid the money. Then he discovered that no one was looking for him. Now he's brought a class-action suit against classmates.com for deceptive advertising. There's a fine line in advertising between what's legal and what's not. "Puffery," which is defined as making exaggerated claims that the…
Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2008.   Comments (15)

Fleeing Purse Snatcher Drops Breast — Police in Port St. Lucie are on the lookout for a cross-dressing purse snatcher who accidentally dropped a condom filled with water after grabbing a 74-year-old woman's purse. He had been using the condom as a fake breast. That's weird enough. What I can't understand is why he was using a water-filled condom. Wouldn't a regular balloon have worked better? Though questioning the fashion decisions of a cross-dressing purse snatcher is surely an exercise in pointlessness.
Posted: Thu Sep 04, 2008.   Comments (6)

Two Stupid Criminals — Desperate for free porn A man entered an adult novelty store, told the clerk that he was a detective with the Longmont Police Department's "age verification unit," and demanded that the clerk provide him with pornographic videos so that he could verify the ages of the actors in them. The Longmont Police have no age verification unit. The clerk turned him away, and then the manager called the real police. (Thanks, Bob!) Cheesecake Box Bomb A man entered a movie rental store, placed a…
Posted: Tue Aug 12, 2008.   Comments (4)

The Knoxville Carjacking Party — According to internet rumor, Britney Spears is planning to star in a movie titled The Knoxville Carjacking Party, based on the brutal 2007 murder of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. Spears would play Channon Christian. The story is a hoax. More specifically, it's a case of satire mistaken as news, having apparently originated as a faux news report from "celebrity snitch, Clarence Star" on the site Ghetto Bragging Rights. Wayne Bledsoe, a columnist for Knoxnews.com, notes that…
Posted: Tue Aug 05, 2008.   Comments (4)


Fake Foot — I'm still catching up on all the recent hoaxes... So here's another one that a lot of people have emailed me about. The fake foot that washed up on a beach in British Columbia. Five human feet have washed up on beaches in British Columbia during the past year, generating a lot of media interest. After all, who do these feet belong to? It's a mystery. But a sixth foot that washed up turned out to be a hoax. From ctv.ca: A sixth foot believed to have washed ashore on Vancouver Island…
Posted: Tue Jun 24, 2008.   Comments (5)

Thieves Steal Fake Money — Thieves used a hammer to break open a plexiglass box being used as a Drop-A-Note donation box in the Kentucky Theatre's lobby, and they stole the money inside. Unfortunately for the thieves, the money they took was fake. From kentucky.com: "It's sad when idiots can't tell fake money from the real thing," said Steve Brown, president of Kentucky's Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ Project, a group dedicated to restoring a Wurlitzer organ and returning it to the Kentucky. Proceeds from the…
Posted: Sun Jun 22, 2008.   Comments (1)

An email from SueEasy — This morning I received an email from SueEasy, a website about which I've posted previously: Hi, This is Andrew Richards, Manager Operations at SueEasy.com We would like to express our discontentment regarding your entry about our company: http://hoaxes.org/weblog/permalink/sue_easy/ We are NOT a hoax of any kind. We have several respected law firms and attorneys signed up with our service & we were hand picked by Michael Arrington (
Posted: Mon Jun 16, 2008.   Comments (15)

How to break into a museum — This story is a great example of the truism that no security system can be better than the people operating it. Thieves broke into a museum at the University of British Columbia and stole gold artwork worth over $2 million. They got around the security system simply by calling the guards, pretending to be from the alarm company, and telling them to ignore any alarms that might go off that night. From cbc.ca: Four hours before the break-in on May 23, two or three key surveillance…
Posted: Wed Jun 04, 2008.   Comments (4)

Your classmate has died—but not really — I've previously noted a few cases where extreme shock tactics were used to teach a lesson. (See Fake Attack at Elementary School and Fake Terrorism Drill.) The following case isn't as bad as those earlier examples, but it still comes across as creepy for officials to trick students into believing their classmate had died in order to teach a lesson about drunk driving. From signonsandiego.com: Many juniors and seniors were driven to tears – a few to near hysterics – May 26 when a…
Posted: Wed Jun 04, 2008.   Comments (22)

Plant Rights — An ethics panel commissioned by the Swiss government has determined that the arbitrary killing of plants is morally wrong. From The Weekly Standard: A "clear majority" of the panel adopted what it called a "biocentric" moral view, meaning that "living organisms should be considered morally for their own sake because they are alive." Thus, the panel determined that we cannot claim "absolute ownership" over plants and, moreover, that "individual plants have an inherent worth." This means…
Posted: Wed May 14, 2008.   Comments (16)

Sue Easy — One of the big problems in modern America is that there are simply not enough lawsuits. A new website promises to end this. It calls itself "Sue Easy," because it makes it so easy to sue someone. The concept is that instead of litigants trying to find a lawyer, which is the traditional way these things are done, the lawyers should seek out the litigants. So if you have a case, or even just an idea for a case, list it on SueEasy, then wait for attorneys to contact you. The site promises…
Posted: Fri Apr 18, 2008.   Comments (12)

Thief Hypnotizes Checkout Staff — The BBC reports that police in Italy are searching for a thief who hypnotizes checkout staff and orders them to hand over money. In every case, the last thing staff reportedly remember is the thief leaning over and saying: "Look into my eyes", before finding the till empty... A female bank clerk reportedly handed over nearly 800 euros (£630)... Italian police believe the suspect could be of Indian or North African extraction. The BBC has a video of the thief in action. It's…
Posted: Sun Mar 23, 2008.   Comments (9)

Quick Links: Mar. 18, 2008 — Excuse of the Year "A German lorry driver escaped a rap for driving while using a mobile phone - after claiming he was using it as an ear warmer." Woman foretells future with asparagus "Jemima Packington throws asparagus on the floor and makes her predictions based on the pattern. She said that some years ago she made a prediction that came true based on an asparagus pattern and realized she was on to something." Seems to me like it's as good a method as anything else. Nostradamus…
Posted: Wed Mar 19, 2008.   Comments (1)

Unresponsive Bystanders — Local 6 News in Orlando recently conducted a test to see how quickly people would respond to a crime. They arranged for an undercover police officer to pretend to be a burglar trying to break into cars and homes in plain view of bystanders. The results: most bystanders ignored or just watched the crime -- and some even helped the thieves... people were ready to help the mystery man break into a car. A third test had the fake burglar enter a home through a window and then go out the…
Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2008.   Comments (13)

Quick Links: Stupid Criminals — Fake blind man caught driving A 70-year-old Italian man had been claiming to be blind for 40 years in order to get an invalid's pension. He was caught when police stopped him in his car at a routine road check. When they checked his record, they noticed it listed him as being 100 percent blind. (Thanks, Joe) Underwear on face fails to disguise "A robbery suspect tried to hide his face with a pair of underwear but the disguise didn't fool witnesses." Fleeing husband spotted in film
Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2008.   Comments (2)

Faking pregnancy as a shoplifting technique — Detectives in Sarpy County, Omaha are warning local stores of a new shoplifting technique being used by a group of women. The women enter a store, fill up a cart with items, and then walk out. If stopped, they claim that they're giving birth. KETV reports: Detectives said that on Dec. 13, three women walked into the Bellevue Wal-Mart, filled a cart with items, then started to leave. Surveillance video shows a store officer stopped them at the door and asked for a receipt. That's when…
Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2008.   Comments (6)

Is it legal to sell something you find in the trash? — The Patry Copyright blog has posted details of an interesting copyright case: United States v. Chalupnik. It doesn't, strictly speaking, have anything to do with hoaxes, except that it raises the question of whether there actually was a crime committed, or whether it's an example of a big corporation trying to invent a crime. Here are the facts, as summarized by William Patry: defendant was an employee for the U.S. Postal Service. BMG Columbia House is a mail order operation selling…
Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2008.   Comments (24)

Quick Links: Feb 6, 2008 — Restaurant removes fake surveillance camera from bathroom "A fake surveillance camera pointing into a bathroom stall of a Second Cup restaurant was taken down Monday after it sparked concerns from the chain's executives and the Quebec government. Second Cup franchisee Francois Turgeon recently installed the decoy camera in his downtown cafe hoping to ward off heroin users who reportedly left dirty needles in the men's bathroom." Man complains that sex doll lost its moan "Consumer…
Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2008.   Comments (2)

Banning Patio Heaters — Last year the Daily Mail ran an April Fool's Day article in which it claimed that Brits would have to pay a "carbon offset" tax if they wanted to barbecue in their backyards: IT IS one of the timeless rituals of the new globally-warmed great British summer: firing up the barbecue and slinging on a steak. But people who choose to burn charcoal may have to think twice as councils now have swingeing new powers to force homeowners to buy 'carbon offsets' before they light up or face a…
Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2008.   Comments (15)

Huffing Hand Sanitizer — A 14-year-old student at Killian Middle School in Lewisville picked up a bottle of hand sanitizer from the desk of his reading teacher, rubbed the gel on his hands, and then smelled it. According to the teacher, he "inhaled heavily." The student said he sniffed it because it "smelled good." But the school authorities claimed he sniffed it because he was trying to get high. They gave him an in-school suspension, and then proceeded to file criminal charges against him. WFAA.com reports:
Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008.   Comments (22)

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