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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Con Artists
Aleksey Vayner
Posted by Boo on Thu Oct 12, 2006
Well, this was brought to my attention by both Outeast and Goobermaster (Thanks, guys.) and, now that I have a new computer that's able to show videos without shutting down, I can see why. Aleksey Vayner sent his resume to an investment bank. He's going to be a class of '07 Yalie, and he's looking for a job. Fair enough. However, along with the resume and covering letter he attached a video. That would be when the fuss started. The IvyGate blog - one which covers events in the Ivy League - posted the video on YouTube. (Although they were forced to remove the video, it can still be seen as part…
Categories: Con Artists Comments (20)
Nigerian Bulldog Scam
Posted by Boo on Mon Oct 09, 2006
The latest in the long series of what are known as 'Nigerian Scams' is one featuring bulldog puppies. Three red flags went up when Mindy Gorman enquired after a $500 bulldog advertised on the Savannah Morning News website. When she emailed the sellers, they replied with an announcement that the puppies had been sold, but: "... You're lucky to have mailed at this time because the puppy has just been placed on adoption by one of my customers, who went…
Categories: Animals, Con Artists Comments (398)
Quick Links: The Welsh Robin Hood, etc.
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 25, 2006
Was Robin Hood Welsh? American historian claims Robin Hood was Welsh, not English. Also that his real name was Bran. "He claims Robin would not have been able to hide out in Sherwood Forest because it would have been too small and well chartered." The Nottingham City Council says: "We laugh at this suggestion." Pastor Indicted For Faking Raffles We've learned not to trust internet lotteries. It looks like church lotteries are going the same way: "Rev. Robert J. Ascolese... would call out the names of fictional people as grand prize winners, then pocket the money or divert it to pet charitable projects. Either way, it meant nobody had a real…
Categories: Con Artists, History Comments (6)
Con Artist Poses as Rock Star
Posted by Boo on Wed Sep 20, 2006
A man identifying himself as Rob Valenti claimed to have been the guitarist for REO Speedwagon and managed to con two men out of hundreds of dollars. On Saturday, he contacted real estate agents, saying he was interested in purchasing property as a tax investment. After they'd showed him properties from $800,000 upwards, he started preliminary paperwork on at least two properties, before the agents bought him dinner and arranged for him to have a room for the night. That evening, he met with two men and two women at a…
Categories: Con Artists Comments (4)
Quick Links: Q-Ray, MIT, and Stupid Criminals
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 13, 2006
Q-Ray Made To Pay Remember the Q-Ray bracelet? There was a thread about it in the old forum. This "miracle bracelet" could do everything from curing arthritis to helping you win a marathon. Now a judge has slapped its inventor with a $22.5 million fine for false advertising. Turns out it couldn't do any of that stuff after all. Who would have thought? Woman Robs Bank With Toy Gun Another Stupid Criminal. Or perhaps a criminal suffering from senile dementia. A 79-year-old woman "walked into the Bank of America branch Tuesday morning and told a teller that she'd just come from the dentist and could only speak quietly...…
Quick Links: Stupid Criminals, etc.
Posted by The Curator on Mon Aug 28, 2006
Do you want to be a gigolo? Malaysian men promised that, for a fee, they can become well-paid gigolos. It's the old dream job scam. One sucker "was told to meet a client at a city hotel. He waited for hours until he spotted a Western women who seemed to be searching for someone. 'I thought she was my client so I approached her and introduced myself. To my surprise, instead of receiving words of welcome, I got cursed and insulted,' he told the daily." Dumb Robber #1 Forgets to bring bag for money as he robs bank. Consequently ends up dropping most of the money during the…
Magic Cheese
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jul 21, 2006
Status: Ponzi Scheme Chilean police have arrested a pair of con artists who had constructed an elaborate pyramid scheme based on the sale of "magic cheese". OhMyNews reports: The fraud consisted in selling people packs of "Yo Flex," a powder that, she claimed, would ferment milk into a special cheese. Giselle said that this "Magic Cheese" was the latest fashion in France, where women used it as a skin cosmetic, and which in Africa was used as a food supplement... In Chile, a pack of Yo Flex sold for US$500, but chemical analysis determined that the powder was a dairy…
Categories: Con Artists, Food Comments (16)
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…
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…
Breast Exam Scam
Posted by The Curator on Wed Apr 19, 2006
Status: News 76-year-old William Winikoff of Coconut Creek, Florida has been charged with lewd and lascivious conduct for posing as a doctor and offering women free breast exams. Remarkably, he duped at least two women with this scam: Carrying a black “doctor’s” bag, investigators claim Winnikoff walked up to a apartment building and told a 36-year-old woman, that he was in the neighborhood offering free breast exams. According to police, the woman let Winikoff into her apartment and the phony doctor began the exam, touching first her breasts, and then, her genitals. The woman quickly realized that Winikoff was not a real doctor and she called 911, but the fake doctor had already…
Boston Couple Eats Glass
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 17, 2006
Status: Insurance Scam When I was in elementary school, I often heard a rumor that if you ate chalk you could fake the symptoms of being sick, and thus not have to go to school. I never tried it, but this couple seems to have taken the same idea and advanced it a step further: A couple has been charged with filing fraudulent insurance claims that said they had eaten glass found in their food at restaurants, hotels and grocery stores, federal prosecutors said... The couple used aliases, false Social Security numbers and identity cards, and in some cases, had eaten glass intentionally to support their insurance claims, prosecutors said. The glass did not…
Categories: Con Artists, Food Comments (2)
The Musuem of Hoaxes
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 17, 2006
Status: Typosquatter My wife just discovered this. If you misspell museumofhoaxes.com by switching he 'e' and the 'u' in museum (a very easy mistake to make), you'll arrive at The Musuem of Hoaxes, which contains links to info about museums. It's obviously a site created by a spammer hoping to profit off of people who are trying to get to the Museum of Hoaxes, but who aren't great spellers. I probably shouldn't link to this alternative version of the Museum (I'm only sending more traffic to the spammer), but I'm kind of flattered that someone thought it was worth their time to create this. According to Larry Adams, author of Fraud In Other Words, this…
Categories: Con Artists, Websites Comments (13)
Mermaids and Bull Genitals Used to Find Missing Car
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 22, 2006
Status: Scam This leaves me at a complete loss for words. It's amazing: HARARE, Zimbabwe - A bogus traditional healer who persuaded a businesswoman to hire "mermaids" and accommodate them in a Harare hotel to help find a stolen car was convicted of theft by false pretenses, court officials said Tuesday... In Zimbabwe, where tribal superstition is deeply entrenched, prosecutors said Chizema persuaded Margaret Mapfumo to pay 200 million Zimbabwe dollars (about $30,000) to hire mermaids, feed and accommodate them in a Harare hotel, buy power generators for a floodlit lakeside ceremony and invoke ancestral spirits to find the missing car. Some of the money was to be used to buy a…
Categories: Con Artists Comments (11)
Fake Russian Music Degrees
Posted by The Curator on Mon Mar 20, 2006
Status: Fraud Korean investigators have uncovered a case of widespread degree fraud involving over 120 people who bought fake Russian music degrees from a woman "identified as Do": Do advertised her institute as a Korean campus of the Russian university and the Russian college dean came here along with a couple of other Russian professors for about 10 days a year to provide lessons,'' said a prosecutor... Prosecutors said that the fake degree holders registered their degrees at the Korea Research Foundation (KRF) and some of them worked as lecturers at local universities, trying to create an academic clique. This strikes me as odd as I would never have picked…
Categories: Con Artists Comments (11)
Thames Whale Watering Can on eBay
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jan 25, 2006
Status: Beware of fakes This is just pathetic: Opportunists have tried to capitalise on the hysteria surrounding the Thames whale by putting a bogus watering-can up for sale on eBay, with a starting price tag of £1,924. The unidentified owner insisted the item was used in the attempted rescue of the 19ft northern bottle-nosed female whale to keep her moist and comfortable. But the fake sale outraged the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, who spent 36 hours and £100,000 trying to save the sea mammal's life and who were selling their own watering-can online. Here's the real watering can for sale. Bidding is currently up to £99,701.25. (I hope…
Categories: Con Artists, eBay Comments (5)
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