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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Con Artists
Bad Santa
Posted by The Curator on Tue Dec 09, 2003
I saw the movie Bad Santa last week and loved it. Now here's a case of a real-life bad santa who's scamming businesses in Mississippi by pretending to be collecting money for charity.
Nigerian Navy Recruitment Scam
Posted by The Curator on Mon Dec 08, 2003
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 real Nigerian navy has announced that it will begin circulating real recruitment forms sometime this month.
Catch Him If You Can
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 14, 2003
A modern-day 'Catch Me If You Can' criminal is on the run in Australia. He cons women out of money by posing as a pilot. Except that Frank Abagnale was a teenager when he posed as a pilot, whereas this guy is in his 30s.
Fake Lawyer
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 13, 2003
Here's a pretty outrageous con. A convicted drug dealer has been caught posing as a lawyer and operating a Central Florida law firm while still in the custody of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. Evidently he only has to spend the night in jail, but every morning he wakes up, hops into his Mercedes, and drives off to his day job as a fake lawyer, from which he's been raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars. I wonder if he'll act as his own lawyer at his trial.
Clooney Gets Kaycee Nicoled
Posted by The Curator on Sat Oct 18, 2003
While I was gone, George Clooney apparently got conned by a woman who told him that her daughter, Cindy, had cancer. When Clooney offered to visit, he got a call from the mother telling him that Cindy had died. Evidently Cindy had never existed. She was just a ploy on the woman's part to get Clooney's attention. Somewhat parallel to the Kaycee Nicole Simpson case.
Categories: Celebrities, Con Artists Comments (0)
Fake Car Crashes
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 30, 2003
One car crashes. Nineteen people claim they were passengers in it. Police suspect something is up. What happens when people fake their own car crash. And in other auto-fraud news, 47 people arrested in an auto-insurance scam.
Categories: Con Artists Comments (0)
The Collect-Trash-for-Charity Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 24, 2003
Schoolchildren in Gloucester, England were fooled by a hoax, versions of which have been around for decades. They received an email message telling them that if they collected 3 kilograms of empty Walker chips packages, then Walker Chips would pay for the treatment of a child born without an arm. The kids collected all the packages of chips, only to learn that Walker Chips had never made such an offer. Like I said, versions of this hoax have happened many times before. They often involve the collection of bottle caps, empty boxes of matches, or other junk, all, so it is said, to support some good cause. Curtis MacDougall, in his classic study of hoaxes, records an example…
Categories: Con Artists Comments (0)
$200 George Bush Bills
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 15, 2003
This story has been getting quite a lot of attention. On Sep. 6, 2003 a man paid for $150 in groceries at a Food Lion in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina with a phony $200 bill bearing George W. Bush's portrait. The bill showed a white house with signs on its lawn reading 'we like ice cream' and 'USA deserves a tax cut.' The cashier accepted the bill and gave $50 change. The Smoking Gun was able to actually get a picture of the $200 bill used in the transaction. What most people don't remember is that this scam is hardly new. Two years ago, on January 28, 2001 a drive-thru…
Categories: Con Artists, Politics Comments (3)
Fraud in Other Words
Posted by The Curator on Sat Sep 06, 2003
I've mentioned Larry Adams's book before, Fraud in Other Words, but I was reading through it again tonight and thought it deserved another mention. The book is an exploration of the language of fraud. Adams has collected together all the jargon and terminology of the culture of fraud, and as you flip through the book you come across one devious scam and ploy after another. For instance, I've always thought it was annoying how those subscription cards fall out of magazines when I'm reading them. I never realized that the cards are designed to fall out. They're called 'Drop Outs.' According to Adams: If the recipient has to bend over and pick up a card, they are more…
Categories: Con Artists Comments (0)
Crime Never Pays
Posted by The Curator on Sat Sep 06, 2003
An accountant fakes cancer in order to avoid a five-month prison term. Gets found out, and is now looking at the possibility of a 50-year term instead.
Categories: Con Artists Comments (0)
Genuine Holy Water from Lourdes
Posted by The Curator on Mon Aug 04, 2003
Scam Alert! A company is sending out spam directing people to a website (http://www.0te.com/3) that sells genuine Holy Water from Lourdes. They boast that it's a miracle cure. "Holy Water can save you where medicine failed!" they proclaim. And it's yours for only $39.95. I'm tempted to believe that if you pony up $39.95 they really will send you genuine holy water from Lourdes. That's not the scam. The scam is that you can head on over to lourdeswater.com and buy the same stuff for less than half the price. So this company is tricking people into paying them $39.95 for a product that they then order elsewhere on the web for only $15. That's a nice scam…
Categories: Con Artists, Religion Comments (2)
Sucker Day Cancelled
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jul 23, 2003
I'm incredibly depressed. Sucker Day has been cancelled this year. That's like cancelling Christmas (well, not quite, but almost). In case you don't know about it, Sucker Day is a celebration held every year in the small town of Wetumka, Oklahoma, usually in the late summer. It commemorates the day in 1950 when the entire town was suckered by the con man J. Bam Morrison. Morrison arrived in town claiming to be the advanceman for a circus that would be arriving on July 24. People would be coming from miles around to attend this circus, he promised, presenting Wetumka merchants with a potential chance to make lots of money. He claimed that if the merchants bought advertising space on…
Categories: Con Artists, Places Comments (1)
Death of a Con Artist
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jul 22, 2003
David Hampton, the man who conned New York socialites by posing as the son of Sidney Poitier, as well as being the inspiration for the play Six Degrees of Separation, died last month at the age of 39.
Puppy Love
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jul 10, 2003
It sounded awful. Five puppies thrown onto the highway from a moving car. Tracy Lloyd claimed that she managed to save one of them, while other motorists scooped up the other four. Turns out the whole tale was bogus. Lloyd wasn't allowed to keep pets in her apartment, so she had made up a sob-story to convince her landlord to bend the rules for her. Her story was exposed when the person who sold the dog to her saw Lloyd telling about the highway incident on tv.
Categories: Animals, Con Artists Comments (2)
The case of the non-existent child
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jul 04, 2003
An Australian woman invented the existence of a child in order to hit up her ex-boyfriend for child support. She even went so far as to provide him with pictures of the (fake) child, and dreamed up a costly medical condition that the kid was suffering from, which she, of course, wanted the boyfriend to pay for.
Categories: Birth/Babies, Con Artists Comments (0)
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.