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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Business/Finance
Auto Dealer Scams
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jul 19, 2006
Status: Useful stuff to know if you're buying a car Florida businessman Earl Stewart has started a blog, Earl Stewart On Cars, that's full of useful insights about the auto industry. Some of his observations about auto dealer scams and deceptive sales tactics are particularly interesting. Here's a few of them: • The “Big Sale Event”. If you look in today’s newspaper, you will find that most car dealers in your area are having a sale of some kind. It may be because of a current holiday, “too large an inventory” of cars, to “reduce their taxes”, “the manager is out…
Million-Dollar Bill Tracts Seized
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jun 13, 2006
Status: Strange News Earlier this month the Secret Service raided the offices of the Great News Network (a Texas ministry) and seized 8300 inspirational tracts. The problem with the tracts? They were printed on million-dollar bills. I would say fake million-dollar bills, but since there's no such thing as real million-dollar bills, there can't exactly be fake ones either. However, the Secret Service felt they looked a little bit too much like real currency for comfort. Reportedly someone had tried to deposit one at a bank. Meanwhile, the Great News Network isn't happy and is threatening to sue the government. But they…
Categories: Business/Finance, Religion Comments (114)
Stock Performance Tied To Ease Of Pronouncing Company’s Name
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jun 02, 2006
Status: Unusual Research There's nothing hoaxy about this story. It's just another example of how non-rational people can be... especially investors in the stock market. Two Princeton researchers, Adam Alter and Danny Oppenheimer, have discovered that the ease with which a company's name and its ticker symbol can be pronounced has a strong short-term effect on the performance of its stock. In other words, "a stock with the symbol BAL should outperform one with the symbol BDL in the first few days of trading." "We looked at intervals of a day, a week, six months and a…
BioPerformance Goes to Court
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jun 02, 2006
Status: Pyramid scheme unravels Thanks to Joe for sending along some links about the ongoing downfall of BioPerformance, Inc. (discussed in the hoax forum in this thread about fuel additives). To summarize briefly: BioPerformance seems to be a classic case of a pyramid scheme. The people at the top of the pyramid were convincing suckers to pay for the privilege of selling little green pills that supposedly, when placed in a car's gas tank, yielded "vast improvements in mileage, performance and emissions". What BioPerformance wasn't telling anyone was that the pills were simply mothballs that didn't improve mileage and could actually ruin a car's engine. (Though oddly enough, according to the Dallas Observer…
Plastic Assets Follow-Up
Posted by The Curator on Thu Apr 06, 2006
Status: follow-up info about a hoax A month ago I posted about Plastic Assets, a faux credit card company offering free breast implants as a sign-up bonus. I noted that the site was an entrant in the Contagious Festival, a contest to create a high-traffic parody site. Now Plastic Assets has officially won the contest, receiving five times more visitors than its closest competitor. And the media, typically late to the party, are announcing that the site has just been revealed to be a hoax. (Even though I know I wasn't the only site to point out that this was a hoax…
Strange Tax Deductions
Posted by The Curator on Tue Apr 04, 2006
Status: Tax Scams With April 15th fast approaching, taxpayers are once again scheming to dream up all kinds of deductions they can take. Bankrate.com has a list of some unusual ones (Thanks to Kathy for the link), such as: • The guy who claimed his dog as a dependent • The man who tried to claim a sperm donation as a 'depletion allowance' • The furniture-store owner who hired an arsonist to burn his business down so that he could claim the insurance, and then deducted the $10,000 he paid the arsonist as a consulting fee. • And the guy who tried to deduct dog food as a security expense (since,…
Categories: Business/Finance Comments (17)
Funny Money
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 15, 2006
Status: Counterfeit currency Reuters is reporting that U.S. Customs agents have apprehended a man who had 250 $1 billion bills stashed away in his apartment. The bills showed President Cleveland, and had an issue date of 1934. Figuring out that they were counterfeit was easy, since there is no such thing as a $1 billion bill. You have to wonder how he was planning to exchange them for real cash, since anyone stupid enough to accept them wouldn't have $1 billion in the first place. In fact, is it even a crime to possess obviously fake money? Don't a lot of places sell fake $1 million bills?
Categories: Business/Finance Comments (9)
The Price of Fake Sick Notes
Posted by The Curator on Mon Mar 13, 2006
Status: News article I'm hesitant to post this, remembering that the last time I posted about fake doctor's notes I ended up with hundreds of comments from people asking me to provide them with fake notes. But here goes anyway. The Shanghai Daily has an interesting short article about the economics of the fake-sick-note industry in China. Apparently sellers of fake doctor's notes can be found outside of many Shanghai hospitals: The price depends on the type of disease and duration of the sick leave. A note allowing two to three days of rest normally costs 20 (US$2.47) to 30 yuan. The price goes up if the person requires longer sick leave.…
Free Breast Implants With Credit Card
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 08, 2006
Status: Hoax The Plastic Assets credit card company is making an attractive offer: free breast implants if you sign up for their card. They promise that "With a low APR and bigger breasts, you will be ready for anything!" And you also get free lip injections for every friend you refer. The site is well designed — well enough designed to plausibly pass for an actual credit card company site. But it's a hoax. The site is part of the Huffington Post Contagious Festival (as you can find out if you scroll all the way down to the bottom of it),…
Powerball Lottery Hoax: The Details
Posted by The Curator on Sat Feb 25, 2006
Here's Bob's preliminary account of the powerball lottery hoax: Alan Abel and I have been talking about doing something with the Powerball for the better part of a year now. It all came together really quickly last weekend when we heard that the record Powerball jackpot was finally won. A number of things came together that made this week just about perfect: It was a record amount; there was only one winner; it was won in a rural state which would make things seem less suspicious; Monday was a holiday, meaning that the lottery office would be closed, almost certainly buying us at least 24 hours to operate before the real winner surfaced.
Categories: Business/Finance Comments (7)
Bob Pagano Wins $365M Powerball Lottery
Posted by The Curator on Wed Feb 22, 2006
Status: Hoax Alan Abel has struck again, this time with the help of a regular here at the Museum of Hoaxes, Bob Pagani (aka Cranky Media Guy). Bob pretended to be the winner of the $365M Powerball lottery. (The real winners were a bunch of meat packers.) Apparently Abel helped behind the scenes. The action took place on Monday, but I didn't hear about it until today when I got an email from a reporter at the Des Moines Register asking me if I had heard about the Powerball Prank, and what I thought about it. A quick news search pulled up this article: On Monday, a man who said he was an unemployed…
Categories: Business/Finance, Pranks Comments (17)
Narnia Walks Out of WTO Meeting
Posted by The Curator on Tue Dec 20, 2005
Status: Hoax In a dramatic move, the representatives of the state of Narnia have walked out of the WTO meeting in Hong Kong. AFX News issued this news release: AFX News Limited WTO MEETING - Narnia walks out of talks; says tired of EU, US 'bullying' 12.18.2005, 07:16 AM HONG KONG (AFX) - The independent state of Narnia has walked out of trade negotiations here, citing pressure from the European Union and the US to enforce liberalization of its garment-related sector. Narnian spokeswoman Susan Aslan said in a statement that delegates 'were tired of bullying by EU and US delegations and would be returning immediately to their state capital at…
Breath Capture
Posted by The Curator on Mon Nov 21, 2005
Status: Real (but possibly a publicity stunt) Breath Capture is a company that's selling air. Or more specifically, they're selling tubes. The customers themselves are supposed to provide the air by breathing into the tubes. They promote these tubes as a way to "Capture the breath of a loved one or friend and keep them close. Forever." So it's a gimmick, kind of like pet rocks, or buying land on the Moon. But what gets me is this claim the company makes on it site: Breath Capture is a patent-pending method and apparatus for collecting human breath as a keepsake…
Chinese Company Bids $450bn for Exxon
Posted by The Curator on Wed Nov 02, 2005
Status: Hoax I find this very strange. A Chinese company, King Win Laurel, has filed paperwork with the SEC indicating that it's planning to make a bid to buy oil giant Exxon for $450bn. But analysts are dismissing the bid as a prank, since King Win Laurel doesn't have the kind of money necessary to make good on such an offer. Apparently King Win Laurel has a history of making hoax bids. Last year, for instance, it made a fake bid to buy Telstra. It also tried to buy a New Zealand firm called Restaurant Brands, but that offer was rejected by local regulators. So what we have here is a Chinese firm that simply likes making…
Categories: Business/Finance Comments (5)
Gillette’s 5-Blade Razor
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 15, 2005
Here's a great example of satirical prophecy (defined as a joke becoming a reality). Back in February 2004 The Onion lampooned the razor industry with a spoof article, supposedly written by the CEO of Gillette, declaring that his company was going to one-up the competition by inventing a five-blade razor with two lubricating strips: Stop. I just had a stroke of genius. Are you ready? Open your mouth, baby birds, cause Mama's about to drop you one sweet, fat nightcrawler. Here she comes: Put another aloe strip on that fucker, too. That's right. Five blades, two strips, and make the second one lather. You heard me—the second strip lathers. It's a whole new way…
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