The Hoax Museum Blog
Fake Chinese ‘Made in India’ Garments sold in Nigeria
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jun 24, 2009
The commerce department of India is considering filing a formal diplomatic complaint against China because of Chinese garments being sold in Nigeria with fake "Made in India" tags. I'm sure it's a serious diplomatic matter, but if you could just somehow add a Russian gangster and a Spanish prisoner into the mix, you'd have a perfect storm of scam artists. [Economic Times]
Snake Head with Broccoli
Posted by The Curator on Mon May 11, 2009
The latest case of the gross things found in food scam: A man dining at TGI Friday's claimed he found a rotting snake head in his side order of broccoli. But testing has now revealed that the snake's head was never cooked and must have been placed in the broccoli at some point after the cooking process. So foul play is now suspected. The guy who found the head claims he didn't put it there, and since he isn't suing the restaurant, he may be telling the truth.
Pigeon Drop Scam Becomes Robbery
Posted by The Curator on Fri Apr 17, 2009
There's a report of a pigeon drop scam in which the scammers approached a woman at an ATM and tried to convince her to buy a diamond (that was supposedly such a bargain that she'd easily make a profit if she resold it). But in this case the scammers got tired of haggling with her and eventually just grabbed her money and ran. Which means that the scammers are now guilty of grand theft. [Mercury News]
Another Cancer Hoaxer
Posted by The Curator on Wed Apr 15, 2009
Dallas, Texas is home to the latest case of Munchausen Syndrome. Hope Ybarra managed to raise $100,000 by convincing an entire community that she was dying of cancer. She even fooled her family. Apparently the ruse went on for years. To their credit, once her family found out she wasn't really sick they put an end to the entire thing and are offering to return everyone's money. [Yahoo! Video]
Fake death and fake funeral
Posted by The Curator on Thu Apr 09, 2009
Faye Shilling is accused of not only buying life insurance policies for people who didn't exist, but also of holding fake funerals for their (fake) deaths. She would fill the casket with "various materials" to make it the right weight, then bury it. And then, because she was afraid authorities would somehow later find an empty casket, she would file fake documents to indicate the body had been exhumed and then file more fake documents to show it had been cremated. [Daily Breeze]
Reusing your hotel towels: sensible behavior or scam?
Posted by The Curator on Tue Apr 07, 2009
Jill Hunter Pellettieri writes in Slate.com about how she hates those notices you now find in all the hotels asking you to re-use your towels in order to "Save Our Planet." Like her, I find them to be disingenuous. The real beneficiaries are the hotels, not the environment, because the hotels save lots of money on laundry costs, and they don't bother to pass those cost-savings along to the customers. [slate.com]
The Fake Acai Berry Diet Girl
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 25, 2009
Following up on Accipiter's post in the forum about the Acai berry weight-loss scam -- one of the interesting (and sleazy) things about the scam is the proliferation of fake diet blogs promoting these Acai berries. The sites go by names such as kirstensweightloss.com, rachelsweightloss.com, patdietblog.com, etc. etc. The sites have before and after pictures of the Acai berry dieters, but pictures of the same women appear on different sites... under different names. For instance, the woman below, depending on which site you visit, is named Kirsten Hunt, Ann Conrad, Daniella Conrad, Jenna Patterson, and a bunch of other names.
The psychic and the anti-negativity statue
Posted by The Curator on Fri Mar 13, 2009
Another case of a victim so stupid they probably deserved to be swindled. When asked why his client continued to pay thousands of dollars to a psychic who promised to build him a gold "anti-negativity" statue, Charles Silveira's lawyer explained, "She gave him positive feedback for him to believe in her representations of what she was saying." Of course she gave him positive feedback, because all the guy's money ($247,850 in total) had worked an anti-negativity charm on her. Link: NJ.com.
New phishing scam merges physical and virtual worlds
Posted by The Curator on Thu Feb 05, 2009
Police in Grand Forks, Michigan North Dakota report that people are finding fake parking tickets on their cars that direct them to go to horribleparking.com to view information about standard parking regulations. When they visit the site, a virus is downloaded onto their computer. It's not clear what the virus does, but it seems like a pretty elaborate way to infect someone's computer. Also, an expensive way. Printing fake tickets and paying someone to distribute them has to cost a lot more than sending out emails. Link: Grand Forks Herald.
Scams in the News
Posted by The Curator on Fri Dec 19, 2008
I'm sure everyone has heard by now of Bernard Madoff's $50 billion Ponzi Scheme, which is being described as the biggest scam in Wall Street history. It's already old news. So here are some other scam-related links: • Slate offers a brief Guide to Financial Scams, explaining the difference between a Ponzi Scheme and a Pyramid Scheme. (Ponzi schemes funnel money to a single person; pyramid schemes distribute the money among a larger group of people.) • The Wall Street Journal tells the story of the Ponzi Scheme that wiped out the fortune of President Ulysses S. Grant. • It doesn't compare to Madoff, but…
Don’t buy diamonds in a Wal-Mart parking lot
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 21, 2008
Here's one for the "If you're this stupid, you deserve to be conned" file: The victim encounters two people in a Wal-Mart parking lot who are engaging in a transaction involving a diamond. The buyer (a man) offers the seller (a woman) $20,000 for the diamond. A normal person would think, "This is an odd location to be having this kind of transaction." Instead, the victim asks if she can buy a diamond also, and gets $1900 from the bank to pay for it. Surprise! She later discovers the diamond is fake. Link: Recordnet.com
Magic Power System
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 18, 2008
We've seen quite a few dubious devices that claim to enhance the performance and mileage of automobiles. The BioPerformance pills come to mind. However, the Magic Power System (aka MPS Power Shift Bar) is something special because it's a product that's not even vaguely plausible. It's on sale on eBay UK for the low buy-it-now price of £34.99 (about $52). All you do is plug it into the lighter socket of your car, and here's the improvements you will see: enhance fuel efficiency - saves gasoline (10-30%)increase engine torque - increase power (2-5ps)reduce car emissions - contribute to the environment unconsciouslyimprove car audio soundsthe small device cleans the entire car electrically including…
Buy it for my son…
Posted by The Curator on Mon Nov 10, 2008
Sleazy scam artist trick: Find a picture of a dead soldier. Post the picture in a craiglist ad for a used car. Say the soldier is your dead son. "All I want is to find the right person... who'll love and take care of this car in the same way he did. I'd like to make a person very happy and to light a candle for my son once in a while." From cbc.ca: It is common for scam artists to pair photos of real soldiers, police and firefighters with fake stories, said Larry Gamache, communications director for CARFAX,…
The Museum of Fakes
Posted by The Curator on Wed Oct 01, 2008
The BBC reports that a 60-year-old Korean man has been arrested for running "a private museum stuffed with fakes." He bought cheap artifacts from flea markets and then displayed them as ancient treasures. He claimed one of his fakes was a "Koryo Dynasty celadon." All in all, he managed to earn $443,000 from this scam through ticket sales. Two things occur to me: 1) So people are assuming that most museums aren't full of fakes? The dirty little secret of the worlds of art and archaeology is that they're awash in fakes. And even when a museum owns the genuine artifact, it might not display the real thing for security reasons.
Caps for Charity
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 03, 2008
Another case of the Collecting Junk for Charity hoax. Aleta Brace of Parkersburg, West Virginia collected 20,000 bottle caps, believing that the caps could be redeemed for money which would aid cancer patients. And she wasn't alone. Churches, schools, businesses, and individuals throughout West Virginia have been collecting the bottle caps all summer. The caps would all have gone to waste, but now the Aveda skin care company has announced it'll take the caps and recycle them into new caps for its products.