The Museum of Hoaxes
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Stotham, Massachusetts: the town that didn't exist, 1920
The disumbrationist art hoax, 1924
The Instant Color TV Hoax, 1962
'Solar Armor' freezes man in Nevada Desert, 1874
Swiss peasants harvest spaghetti from trees, 1957
Brief History of Triple-Decker Buses
Tube of liquor hidden in prohibition-era boot, 1920s
The damp spot that hoaxed a city, 1912
Iceberg floats into Sydney Harbor, 1978
The worms inside your face
BioPerformance Goes to Court
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 article, mothballs can, under certain conditions, boost octane levels, which can help engine performance... but only when used in very carefully controlled amounts and in high-performance engines.) Sadly, in a classic example of cognitive dissonance, many of the BioPerformance faithful are refusing to admit they've been scammed. But thats always the way it is with con-artists and their victims.
Categories: Business/Finance, Con Artists
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jun 02, 2006
Comments (33)
That Dallas Observer article is great, Alex, very illuminating. Anyone interested in this scam or in multi-level marketing in general should read it.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Fri Jun 02, 2006  at  03:08 AM
...but first I'd like to start by asking "What dipshit would drop ANYTHING in the fuel tank of a vehicle they paid thousands (possibly tens of thousands)of dollars for?

Excellent article in The Dallas Observer, but quite lengthy. A must-read for anybody who's ever been (or thinks they are being) scammed by ANY 'too good to be true' marketing ploy...

A while back (I believe it to be within the last 12 months), Popular Mechanics magazine ran an extensive article that focused on the gizmos, attachments, and additives that claimed ANY improvement in fuel economy... the verdict: none of them showed ANY consistent increase in fuel economy. The term consistent was used, because ANY change (fractions of percentage points) was better explained by miniscule/uncontrollable (temperature, for example) change in test environment. The verdict was pretty much so, DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY... NONE OF THEM WORK AS CLAIMED.
Posted by Christopher  in  in Joplin, Missouri  on  Fri Jun 02, 2006  at  08:28 AM
I first learned of the existence of BioPerformance, Inc. this April when, by accident, my tropical fish club held a fish show in a hotel where this crowd was holding a Spanish-language sales seminar in the meeting room next to ours. (BioP is based here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.)
At the time, it struck me as exhibiting a kind of wicked brilliance: they had managed to combine two of the most classic hoaxes of all time, the Ponzi scheme and the Gas Pill, into one elegant swindle. Plus, they targeted their marketing to non-English-speakers, who would have a harder time complaining to the authorities.

I got into a conversation with one of the BioP enthusiasts, who assured me that the pills really work.
"No, they don't," I said.
"How can you say that if you haven't tried it?" she asked, almost reasonably.
"OK, I'll try it if you can explain to me how it works and what's in the pill. I'm not going to put some stuff in my gas tank if you won't tell me what it is. Cars are expensive."
"Well, I don't know how it works, but I don't need to know. I just know it's great and we're going to get rich selling it," she said just before walking off in a bit of a snit.

Logic like that is pretty tough to refute.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Gun Barrel City, Texas, USA  on  Fri Jun 02, 2006  at  07:16 PM
""What dipshit would drop ANYTHING in the fuel tank of a vehicle they paid thousands (possibly tens of thousands)of dollars for?..."

Uh, I don't know if you have a car, Christopher, but I have one that doesn't work unless I put lots of stuff in it all the time-- stuff like gasoline, oil, brake fluid, water, air, etc. I do realize there's a bit of risk every time I introduce one of these foreign substances, though, so I try to use only materials obtained from trustworthy sources.

That's why chunking in green mothballs that your neighbor's friend's barber's milkman's brother-inlaw sold him doesn't seem too prudent to me.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Gun Barrel City, Texas, USA  on  Fri Jun 02, 2006  at  07:24 PM
Uh, Big Gary, did I lose you somewhere in the translation???? I was talking scams here!!! Hell-lowww!!!
Posted by Christopher  in  Joplin, Missouri  on  Fri Jun 02, 2006  at  11:24 PM
Hey, I'm sorry Big Gary, I forgot... you live in that state (according to the article in the Dallas Observer), scam artists don't have to explain themselves logically... LOL
Posted by Christopher  in  Joplin, Missouri  on  Fri Jun 02, 2006  at  11:28 PM
Christopher sez:
"... you live in that state ..., scam artists don't have to explain themselves logically..."

Well, maybe they do. Our state Attorney General has gotten a restraining order halting BioPerformance's activities and freezing its assets, and he's filed for a permanent injunction.

Of course there are plenty of other "multilevel marketing" scams still at large: Herbalife, Amway, etc., but these aren't limited to Texas. The world headquarters of Mary Kay, Inc. is here in Dallas, and holds revivals for vast multitudes of its true believers here every summer. Mary Kay is also based on a somewhat dubious "multilevel" sales structure, but at least it involves selling actual products that people (some people, anyway) want to buy and use.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Gun Barrel City, Texas, USA  on  Sat Jun 03, 2006  at  10:47 AM
Christopher cries out:
"Uh, Big Gary, did I lose you somewhere in the translation???? I was talking scams here!!! Hell-lowww!!!"

Well, I knew you were referring to the BioPerformance pills, but I thought the statement that only a "dipshit" would put "ANYTHING" (your emphasis) in the fuel tank was overly broad.

Legitimate auto parts stores (as legitimate as they get, anyway) have shelves full of additives to put in your gas tank. As you say, most or all of these probably produce little or no benefit, but most of them (unlike the moth balls) are also unlikely to cause any damage to the car.

Most of us have had the experience of filling up at a seemingly legitimate gas station but getting a bad tank of gas that made the car run badly. But the car won't run at all if you don't put gas in it, and if you're travelling away from home you probably don't know who's selling you the gas.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Gun Barrel City, Texas, USA  on  Sat Jun 03, 2006  at  10:58 AM
"Sadly, in a classic example of cognitive dissonance, many of the BioPerformance faithful are refusing to admit they've been scammed. But thats always the way it is with con-artists and their victims."

I propose naming this phenomenon the "Dallas Syndrome" (comparable to the Stockholm Syndrome where kidnap victims come to empathise with their captors).

Or maybe there's a more general term that would include believers who, having been shown that their pet spoon-bender, astrologer, communicator-with-the-dead, faith healer, or whatever has engaged in fraudelent practices respond by saying "well, he's expected to perform even when the vibes aren't good, so sometimes he has to cheat, but the other times [i.e. when he isn't caught cheating] it's legit."
Posted by JoeDaJuggler  in  St. Louis, MO  on  Sat Jun 03, 2006  at  11:02 AM
I first heard about this when an old friend, who I have contact with usually a couple of times a year, called me up and told me about his wonderful new business. I heard him out, declined his offer of a free sample, but promised to check out his website. I did and then went on to do a bit of research into the subject. \

I wrote back later that evening and explained why, even if it saved gas, it couldn't work as he had claimed: essentially by lowering the flash point of the gasoline. That would throw off the ignition timing, which would cause knocking in older engines -recently made vehicles have sensors to prevent knocking by retarding the timing- and eventually damaging the engine. In\ all cases it would lower gas mileage-again, the timing issue.

Its true that internal comustion engines do waste a lot of available energy from the gas, but this product couldn't work without a major engine redesign.

I went on to speculate that, if it worked at all, it probably was some sort of detergent. Cleaning an old, cruddy engine can increase gas mileage a bit. I guess that I was being too generous. But, as I mentioned before, he is a friend.
Posted by rkh  on  Sat Jun 03, 2006  at  12:42 PM
Not all fuel additives work best with your vehicle. It is important that you do know what you are putting in inside your vehicle. Just imagine how much you would be spending if your vehicle starts acdting up. That would not be something pretty, for sure. So check your car owner's manual first before you drop or pour something in. Lesson learned.
Posted by Jay Stevens  on  Sun Jun 04, 2006  at  10:43 PM
Not all fuel additives are scams and overstated. I use one that has been proven to work before I started using it. There are fleets of trucks that use it and have been for years. China uses it to clear their smog problem and they order hundreds of gallons. I have heard so many amazing testimonies, it's hard to believe, but I've spoke and listened to them directly.

I'm getting this product out to people so easily, it's like a free popular concert. They WANT to save money on their gas and they DO by using this.

Take advantage of getting in early and tell those that you know about this. Trust me, you'll thank me later.

http://www.scam/scam
Posted by Matt  on  Tue Jun 13, 2006  at  11:33 AM
This past week, in our 1994 Lincoln Town Car Cartier, we got 289 miles out of 14.9 gallons of gas. We only use the Bio pills every other week, because we don't know when we can get any more, and we do better now on mid range octane as opposed to 93. We've been with them since February, and at 54 years, this has been the only company that has paid me in cash for anything, including Mary Kay, Amway, Shaklee, and Morinda Tahitian Noni Juice. I personally know of other people who have done quite well in any and all of these companies, but they didn't work for me. We're more than pleased with this product. If there is anything wrong with the company, I hope they straighten it out...I'm running out of pills!
Posted by LaJauna Adeyemi  in  Irving, Tx 75062  on  Wed Jun 21, 2006  at  05:00 PM
LaJauna Adeyemi, you didn't mention anything about your increase of MPG.

BioPerformance is done. The court date is set for September.

I challenge you to try my product The results are and have been amazing. We have MANY BioPerformance reps that have come out to say 'the product is a waste of money' and that they tried it compared to Ethos, and it's a world of a difference.

contact me at [Edited by Moderator]@yahoo.com. If you try the product and it doesn't work, I'll personally refund you...that's how confident I am.

~Matt
Posted by Matt  in  MA  on  Wed Jun 21, 2006  at  05:52 PM
Matt if you are still here, email me your email! If anybody knows Matt's email, email me his email.

John
Posted by John Tucker  in  Michigan  on  Thu Aug 10, 2006  at  10:37 PM
John,

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Posted by Matt  on  Fri Aug 11, 2006  at  06:04 PM
It is a wait and see if in Sept. the court rules in favor of Bio or the state. If the product is good or a scam.. Ginger
Posted by Jan Karr  in  Spokane,Wa.  on  Sun Aug 13, 2006  at  11:19 PM
LOL A scam or good product,court rule in Sept in favor of Bio. These days with gas over $3 and diesel at $3.27 in our area. In Spokane Valley could use a good additive to increase mile for little guy as the truckers hauling freight too. Not be any coal into oil real soon or new oil be found here. Or capped wells in Texas or Oklahoma save us from oil blackmail pricewise or cut backs from our enimies in the middleEast. Those Muslim countries not likely lower prices or our oil co. either. Hopeful thinking to see oil be found here in our area,and our country tell the Islamic fanatics to take a flying leap. Too bad for the poor who haven't mass transit and watch prices going up and wages no way keeping up either.
Posted by Janice Carr  in  Spokane,Wa.  on  Sun Aug 13, 2006  at  11:29 PM
Wish there was a additive could tell friend to buy or where to get for his diesel truck drives and one he drives working hauling or picking up freifgt,that would increase mileage by 30% or more, they really need to find one if bio performance is a scam or not be available for some time. Jan
Posted by Jan Carr  in  Spokane Valley.Wa  on  Sun Aug 13, 2006  at  11:35 PM
I had a horrible experience with BioPerformance. We were left on the side of the road 170 miles from home with a busted fuel pump after putting the BioPerformance pills in before taking off for our trip to spend time with family for Easter.

Live and learn - and DON'T EVER PUT ANYTHING IN YOUR GAS TANK UNLESS YOU KNOW FOR SURE IT IS SAFE!!

I don't care if it's ETHOS (which I keep getting spam about their scandal going on), MGP Tabs - or WHATEVER. Don't use it unless you know 100% for sure it's safe.

I don't think the downfall of BioPerformance was because of their being a MLM / Network Marketing company. That's 100% legit in this great country. Their pay plan was on the up and up - and EVERY corporate and even government entity is shaped as a pyramid. (President, Vice President, Management, Employees,) It was the simple fact that MOTH BALLS screw up people's vehicles!
Posted by Philly  in  Indiana  on  Sun Aug 20, 2006  at  03:03 PM
With so much nay-saying about Gas products and companies, I've recently ventured off to spend time in a business that has the internet buzzing like crazy. http://mk.profitmatic.com?aid=MuseumofHoaxesCOM
Posted by Matt  on  Sun Aug 20, 2006  at  05:33 PM
I also heard that bioperformance product are harmful to the engines because of the naphtaline...is that right ?
Posted by Fuel Economy Gas Pill  in  Canada  on  Fri Nov 24, 2006  at  11:14 AM
Yes, that is true. Bio Performance is not going to come out of their bad situation and lies.
Posted by Matt  on  Fri Nov 24, 2006  at  11:35 AM
Big Gary,

I'm a "dipshit" that put some BioPerformance gas pills in my 1970 Chevy muscle truck I'm fixing up. I had the emissions checked before I used the pills ... and as I knew it would--it failed the tests. I then tuned it up, and still without the pills, it failed. I then tried the gas pills and to the same auto-technicion's astonishment--it passed with flying colors! (I have the emissions reports to prove it.)

The emissions tech who performed each of the tests had never seen anything work as well! Before he did the final test, I told him I was trying these 'gas pills.' As he showed me and restated what the numbers of my previous failed tests meant, he told me these 'gas pills' would never work--the numbers were way out of range. I think he was trying to tell me I was a 'dipshit' for even trying them.

After my truck passed, I had hard proof--and this, now a 'dipshit,' wanted some for his brand new, multi-thousand-dollar Mustang.

Within a couple of hours of putting the gas pills in my fuel tank, I could tell a very significant difference in my truck--it started better, idled smoother--and flat got on it when I stomped it!! And after closely calculating my mpg over several tank fulls--it was getting almost 5 miles more per gallon, lot more miles per tank--which was saving me $$ at the pump! (Being a 'dipshit,' I had to recalculate it many times to verify the improvements.) It only cost of few cents to treat a gallon, but was saving me dimes a gallon--AND IT RAN MUCH BETTER to boot!

The facts spoke for themselves and I became an even bigger "dipshit" and put the pills in my newer vehicles.

My uncle made over $90,000 as a BioPerformance distributor in less than 5 months.

Was I "dipshit" when a "vehicle vitamin," uhhh ... 'moth ball' also made my grandfather's older lawnmower run much smoother and start faster?! I guess I was also a 'dipshit' when I tested a lubrication product for myself on a lawnmower engine years ago. The engine ran for hours with absolutely NO OIL in it!

My uncle was also a 'dipshit' and used this lubrication product in his 67 Camaro race car--which ran faster each time he ran it! And this product also made our vehicle run over 20 degrees cooler in the heat of summer!

Oh, and tell my 'dipshit' father-in-law who was given 6 months to live (due to emphysema) by conventional Dr's--but was 'dipshit' enough to try a 'dipshit' alternative medical treatment (costing him almost $6). I can put you in touch with him--because he's alive now 20 YEARS LATER BEYOND the coffin he would've been in had he listened to his Drs!

I guess it's only us 'dipshits' that are stupid enough to think outside the box the 'sheople' are carraled in. You see, as a former teacher and philosophy minor--it has usually been, throughout history, 'dipshits' that have improved the world--because they--and we--are 'dipshit' enough to NOT LISTEN to the "brilliant ones" in the BOX!!

'Dipshit'
Posted by Alan  in  Idaho  on  Sun Feb 11, 2007  at  06:21 AM
BioPerformance update

On May 15th, 2007 after extensive testing on BioPerformance products the US Attorney General removed the freeze on BioPerformance. The US Attorney General has agreed that BioPerformance does exactly what it claims to do and as such the company is back in business.

Since the relaunch less than one month ago...
1. 10,000 people have become involved.
2. 1 million in sales has already been realized.
3. The company is back on the fast track to success while helping others save at the tank and cut down on emissions benefiting nature for all.

Here's my website to check out this product again...


Further, just because you use a fuel additive it is not proof positive that it is responsible for a automotive break down. However, if it is proved to be the case BioPerformance stands behind it's products with a 100% replacement guarantee for any engine or automotive parts that it damages.

Cheers
Guy
Posted by Guy Siverson  in  Spokane  on  Sun Jun 10, 2007  at  06:41 PM
It was the Texas Attorney General, not the US one who prosecuted BioPerformance. There's also no information on the Texas AG's website backing up this claim. According to them Bioperformance is still blocked from distributing in the state of Texas.

Good try, scammer.
Posted by Charybdis  in  Hell  on  Mon Jun 11, 2007  at  11:30 AM
Wow... do you launch into name calling as a matter of practice or should I consider myself "special"?

I stand corrected regarding which Attorney General I was referring to though I'm not exactly sure how that really matters, except that Texas is smaller than the US and thus even less credance would be given to issues launched. Non-the-less, if you do a little more homework you will find that even the Texas Attorney General has lifted the absolute freeze that was placed on BioPerformance over 1 year ago. We may not be able to conduct business in Texas, but we are definetly back in business.

Here's an eye opener to ponder.

1. Exxon (an oil rich company) offered to buy the patent for BioPerformance for $2 billion twice but was refused.

2. Texas (an oil rich state) put a freeze on BioPerformance after the offer to purchase the patent was flat out refused.

Feel free to draw your own conclusions about scams, I've drawn mine as apparently 49 of 50 other states have too.

BioPerformance Rules, Gas Prices Drool
http://www.pumpsmart.mybpi.com/

Cheers
Guy
Posted by Guy Siverson  in  Spokane  on  Mon Jun 11, 2007  at  02:33 PM
How about you back up your assertions with some facts and evidence?

Let's see some documentation from Exxon stating their desire to purchase this patent.

This should be easy to provide, anything making an offer of $2 billion should have ample legal backup. Unless of course you're just making this up.
Posted by Charybdis  in  in Hell  on  Mon Jun 11, 2007  at  02:48 PM
I also see you're now required to admit BioPerformance includes napthalene, which the company has denied from the beginning.

Any reason for this deception? It wouldn't be because napthalene slowly destroys your engine, would it? And it certainly couldn't be because it's toxic to humans.

It turns out your product did increase milage, by an old and best avoided method. Not very revolutionary sounding to me.
Posted by Charybdis  in  Hell  on  Mon Jun 11, 2007  at  02:53 PM
No, I don't have the report personally available. I do have tests and reports which show that BioPerformance is neither toxic nor flammable. How readily can you put your hands on your birth certificate or passport? Perhaps you've got them in your back pocket, but most people don't.

BioPerformance worked very hard at returning to business as usual including putting a label on their product to identify Naptaline. Actually it uses a dirivitive thereof that is neither toxic nor flammable.

I've said my piece and you are welcome to believe what you will as well as pay thru the nose for gasoline. As for me?

http://www.pumpsmart.mybpi.com/
ALL THE WAY!!!!!

Cheers
Guy

PS: How the product works is directly identified upon the website. 10,000 people strong since relaunch only a month ago. Someone somewhere is choosing to be the odd man out, and that is your choice. Watch out though, before you know it you'll run crying that the sky is falling.
Posted by Guy Siverson  in  Spokane  on  Mon Jun 11, 2007  at  04:15 PM
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