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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Scams
The mystery of the Great Diamond Hoax of 1871
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 28, 2014
SFGate.com briefly tells the story of the Great Diamond Hoax of 1871, which is one of the classic scams of the nineteenth century. The lingering mystery is what exactly happened to all the money the scammers made.
Categories: Scams Comments (0)
Infectious Money Scam
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jan 06, 2014
A new scam targeting the elderly in Italy. Well-dressed young women knock on the door and identify themselves as health department officials. They tell the elderly resident that banknotes have been contaminated with a deadly virus. They ask, "Do you have any banknotes in the house? If so, give them to us, and we will decontaminate them." One elderly woman handed the scammers over $2300. [ninemsn.com.au]
Categories: Scams Comments (0)
Heltheo’s McCoy Home Health Tablet
Posted by The Curator on Tue Dec 24, 2013
"According to prosecutors, Leventhal told potential investors that his company, Neovision USA, Inc., had written agreements with Health Canada to provide it with "Heltheo's McCoy Home Health Tablet," a device that could quickly deliver detailed patient data to doctors. The device, prosecutors said, was apparently named after the fictional character Dr. Leonard McCoy from Star Trek." Man pleads guilty in multimillion-dollar Star Trek-inspired fraud The Vancouver Sun An Illinois man pleaded guilty Monday in New York to fraud in connection with a multimillion-dollar scheme that duped investors into thinking that he had a lucrative contract with the Canadian government to provide a medical device named after the doctor in the television and movie…
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Witchdoctor Protest
Posted by The Curator on Sun Dec 15, 2013
A unique way to express frustration at having been conned: Man conned by fake witchdoctor protests in the nude standardmedia.co.ke KENYA: A middle-aged man, in his desperate attempt to stage a one-man protest, stripped in Mlolongo town. This was after it dawned on him that a fake witchdoctor had conned him Sh25,000. The long protracted mid-morning drama left shocked onlookers wagging their tongues... The money was for some concoction, which he was to collect later and smear it at the door of his shop to attract customers. The initially tickled male spectators began feeling embarrassed at the nakedness of the man. They pleaded with him to dress up, and told…
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Empty Force
Posted by The Curator on Sat Dec 14, 2013
Wikipedia defines the martial arts technique of Empty Force as "the expression of force without making physical contact." This technique claims to harness the power of qi, the "body's vital energy", enabling masters of the art to defend themselves against opponents without making physical contact. However, "Some proponents of martial arts are skeptical about demonstrations of empty force and dismiss them as tricks." Recently a Finnish empty-force master, Jukka Lampila, gave a demonstration in Barcelona. So some skeptics decided to put his claims to the test. So basically, empty force works brilliantly as a method of self defense, as long…
Categories: Body Manipulation, Scams Comments (1)
‘Help Me, I’m German!’
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 15, 2013
UK police are warning drivers of a new scam in which fraudsters pose as stranded motorists in lay-bys, beseeching the aid of good samaritans with pleas such as, "Help me, I'm German!" The fraudsters claim that they're out of gas and have lost their wallet. But they offer gold jewelry in return for money. The scam is that the gold jewelry is fake. [cambridge-news] When I first saw the headline I thought it was going to be about people who wake up, realize they've become German, and cry out for help. Kind of like a Germanified version of Gregor Samsa. That would have been better.
Categories: Scams Comments (3)
The Nigerian Message-In-A-Bottle Bank Scam
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 07, 2013
Warning: if you find a message in a bottle requesting your help with transferring £4,500,000 out of Nigeria, it may be a scam. Tom Fenton recently found such a message in a bottle while cycling along the Thames. It was written by Barrister Umsloppogas Adinga: Dear Friend, I am pleased that this letter has reached you safely. I was given your name as an honourable and upright person to do business with. Let me introduce myself; I am Umsloppogas Adinga a barrister working in the Nigerian inheritance court and have been assigned to the estate of a Mr Bates who has left an unclaimed estate…
Categories: Scams Comments (4)
The “Fake Dominatrix” Scam
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 18, 2013
A 35-year-old Austrian woman advertised herself as a dominatrix, promising strict discipline to clients willing to pay. It took the men who responded to her ad a week to realize that instead of getting sexy punishment, they were being made to do work around her farm (chopping wood, mowing the lawn) while dressed in black fetish gear. They were paying for the privilege of doing farm labor. [spiegel]
Categories: Scams, Sex/Romance Comments (2)
Money From the Sky Scam
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 16, 2013
Two men in Dubai were offering to share a sure-fire way to get rich quick. All one had to do was buy a special juice from them and offer it to a jinn (a ghost). The juice wasn't cheap. It cost $30,000. But the jinn liked it so much, that upon receiving it he would return the favor by making $200 million rain down from the sky. However, these men made the mistake of selling their jinn-juice to an undercover police officer, who promptly arrested them. The Dubai authorities had harsh words for the victims of these con artists, as well as for the con artists themselves, saying that only greediness could…
Categories: Scams Comments (1)
Massive Louvre Ticket Scam
Posted by The Curator on Fri Sep 13, 2013
Parisian authorities are now warily considering the possibility that thousands of Chinese tourists might be getting into the Louvre for free, after Belgian customs officials discovered fake Louvre tickets that were "perfect clones" of genuine tickets in a package sent from China. Though I assume the tourists paid someone for the tickets. They just paid the wrong person. [BBC News]
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Maleek Seeks Help
Posted by The Curator on Fri Aug 23, 2013
Nairobi singer Moses Kamunya (aka Maleek) posted on facebook that his daughter had died. Sympathetic friends then sent him money to help with the funeral costs. But when people showed up at the mother's house for the funeral, (the mother being the Maleek's former girlfriend), she hit the roof because her daughter was still very much alive. Maleek now explains that "the devil had misled him." However, he doesn't seem quite ready to return the money. Apparently Maleek is fairly well known in Nairobi for a song titled "Who's Gonna Help." City singer 'kills' his child on Facebook standardmedia.co.ke A city singer has admitted he collected Sh300,000 by claiming on…
Categories: Scams Comments (0)
No Monkey
Posted by The Curator on Wed Aug 21, 2013
Call this the Cameroon Monkey Scam. The scammers bait victims online with the promise of a budget-priced monkey. Only $50. So you send in your money. But then, oh, by the way, you also need to pay for a cage, as well as a monkey license, and shots. By the time it's all over you've spent hundreds of dollars. A Battle Creek, Michigan woman fell for the scam. Finally she went to the police who told her, sorry, you've lost your money and you're not getting a monkey. [wzzm13]
Categories: Scams Comments (1)
Motor Trip Hoax, 1944
Posted by The Curator on Tue Mar 12, 2013
I found the following story posted in the March 3, 1944 issue of the Carteret Press (scanned and hosted by the Woodbridge, NJ Public Library): MOTOR TRIP HOAX Los Angeles — A new kind of hoax was pulled when four men answered an ad asking for passengers on a trip to Raleigh, N.C. The driver picked them up, collected $50 from each and then stopped at the post office. He went inside and that was the last the passengers saw of him. The car had been rented. But I'm having trouble understanding exactly how the scam would have been profitable. First, if the car was a rental, wouldn't it…
Categories: Scams Comments (4)
Prof. Humbolt’s Electric-Light Fluid Scam, 1896
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jan 31, 2013
I came across the above complaint in Gleanings in Bee Culture (1896). It seems that a door-to-door salesman was going around selling something he called "Prof. Humbolt's Electric-Light Fluid," which had absolutely nothing to do with electricity or electric lighting. The term "electric" was thrown into just about every product name back then to make products sound more scientific and modern. As far as I can tell from the description, this "electric-light fluid" was a powder (not a fluid!) that people could add to the kerosene or coal oil in lamps. Supposedly it made the lamps burn brighter, smoke less, and reduced the risk of them exploding. Kind of like those fuel…
Categories: Products, Scams Comments (1)
Fake Chippendales Scam
Posted by The Curator on Mon Oct 01, 2012
Recently the "202 Market" bar in Roanoke, VA advertised that it was going to be hosting the famous Chippendales dancers. But soon it had to retract its announcement and admit that it had fallen victim to a scam. It had been deceived by a group of frauds posing as the Chippendales — Chippenfakes, you might call them. [roanoke.com] Apparently the Roanoke bar isn't alone in falling for this scam. Kevin Denberg, manager of the real Chippendales, warns that there are a number of fraudulent groups trying to pass themselves off as the Chippendales. The official Chippendales website even has a form that allows fans to report any fakes. What I find…
Categories: Scams Comments (5)
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