Any con man historian will tell you the etymology of the phrase “to let the cat out of the bag.”
The story goes that back in olden days that marketplace livestock sellers would sell pigs in bags. However, often they would sell cats in the sacks instead of pigs.
If someone opened the bag too early, the scam was uncovered.
However, the kill joys over at urban myth testing website snopes have done a little research and, combining it with a little commonsense have shown up the story as a fraud.
First, a cat is a different size to a pig. Even a piglet is going to out weigh the biggest cat.
Second, cats will hiss and scratch and spit while pigs will squirm and squeal.
Third, if the scam was so popular that it entered into the common language through the phrase ‘let the cat out of the bag’ then that would mean that thousands and thousands of people would have been so stupid as to not notice the switch.
The link to the world of the scams and this particular saying more than likely comes from the say “when buying a pig, open the poke”.
It’s a nice story but it just isn’t true.
But at least I got show you some pictures of cats.
Hi Nicholas, I listen to you each week on the abc and really enjoy the segment. We recieved a letter today containing a 5 cent piece. It is from a man called David Rhodes of Perth Western Australia. The letter is about a 3 step plan to get rich!
Your first step is to send $10.00 to a person listed 1st on a mailing list containing 5 names and addresses.
You then add your name to the mailing address and send out 200 letters with a five cent piece on it. Cutting a loong story short you send out all the letters and in 60 days you get $70000.00!. Would love to hear if you have heard of this practice.
We can send you the letter if you like and lastly is it a scam as i suspect?
The David Rhodes chain letter has been doing the rounds for many years.
It is a scam. Chain letters are considered pyrimid schemes in Australia. It is illegal to even take part in one.
The math just does work out.
If you send it to 200 people who send it to 200 and so on, by the time your name reaches the top it will be sent to more people than the population of the world. That’s 320,000,000,000 people supposedly sending you cash.
I’ve never heard of anyone making money from it.
PS - That’s actually not true. The ONLY chain letter I’ve ever heard to be successful is the Underpants Letter. You send a pair of underpants to the person at the top of the list and, in two months, you receive underpants in the mail! Everyone I know who has taken part has received at least two pair of underpants.
Someone tries to post the following comment on the blog. The original was chock full of Urls to penis enlargement sites.
HELP! I’m currently being held prisoner by the Russian mafia and being forced to post spam comments on blogs and forum! If you don’t approve this they will kill me. They’re coming back now. Please send help!
“Southern California law enforcement professionals assigned to detect new threats to personal security issues, recently discovered what type of information is embedded in the credit card type hotel room keys used throughout the industry.
Although room keys differ from hotel to hotel, a key obtained from the “Double Tree” chain that was being used for a regional Identity Theft Presentation was found to contain the following the information:
a.. Customers (your) name
b.. Customers partial home address
c.. Hotel room number
d.. Check in date and check out date
e.. Customer’s (your) credit card number and expiration date!
When you turn them in to the front desk your personal information is there for any employee to access by simply scanning the card in the hotel scanner. An employee can take a hand full of cards home and using a scanning device, access the information onto a laptop computer and go shopping at your expense.
Simply put, hotels do not erase the information on these cards until an employee re-issues the card to the next hotel guest. At that time, the new guest’s information is electronically “overwritten” on the card and the previous guest’s information is erased in the overwriting process. But until the card is rewritten for the next guest, it usually is kept in a drawer at the front desk with YOUR INFORMATION ON IT!!!!
Information courtesy of: Sergeant K. Jorge,
No, it’s a hoax. The story comes from a quote from 2003 by Sergent Jorge who said:
“In years past, existing software would prompt the user (employee) for information input. If the employee was unaware of hotel policy dictating that such information NOT be entered, it could have ended up on the card in error.”
However, the types of cards that hotels use just don’t have the storage capability to store your credit card number, address or name. They have a single track that includes nothing but a code linked to the room number. That code is wiped automatically when you check out.
Back in 1989, The Magic Circle in the UK, refused to let women join the society.
This annoyed female magicians such as Jenny Winstanley no end. But Winstanley had a plan.
She teamed up with Sophie Lloyd, a 28 year old actress, and taught her how to perform magic to a standard high enough to join the society (this was back in the day when clubs actually had standards rather then just letting every nerd with a deck of cards and a youtube account)
Sophie then created the character of Raymond, a young, socially awkard magician. Sophie spent a year performing in clubs around London until she was good enough and professional enough to join the club.
She auditioned in front of a panel of judges and an audience of 200 people and was accepted into the exclusive club.
A few months later when Lloyd and Winstanley revealed to the club they had been hoaxed, the circle didn’t see the humour and, rather ironically, kicked ‘Raymond’ out on the grounds of deception.
The pair even received the cliched late night “you’ll never work in this town again” phone call.
Back in 2004, I appeared on Today Tonight warning about credit card skimmers.
Since then we’ve had countless more attacks on people’s credit cards and the banks have responded with updating their security. Your average ATM slot is now covered with so many bits of coloured plastic and flashing lights that it looks like it might be capable of intelligence thought.
The idea is simple. A skimmer is placed belong the ATM card slot which reads and copies your card as you put it in the machine.
Since ATMs are harder to scam, the swindlers have moved onto other methods.
- In October, I had reports of taxi drivers skimming people’s cards when they went to pay on eftpos. The skimmer was hidden under the seat and the PIN was obtained remembered when passenger entered it in the machine.
- A dog in Sydney was found to have a skimmer attached to it’s collar. Police believe it was trained to rubbed up against victims and copy the card in their wallet.
- A man in Canberra went door to door posing as a delivery man in 2008. The victim had to pay a COD charge of a few dollars. However, his dodgy EFTPOS machine copied their card and remembered their PIN.
-This week, I’ve been getting reports of skimmers being attached to ANTI-skimming ATMS in Sydney
The ATMs have gotten safer but there are still more skimmers out there then in skim milk.
Wait. Let me try that again. More cards skimmed than milk which is skimmed in some sort of skimmed milk factory.
There’s more skimming going on then in a skinny cow skimming stones across a river…of skimmed milk.
Over the next ten days, I’m counting down the top ten scams of the past ten years.
These are the ten swindles that I think sum up the first decade of the new millennium.
Number 10: Poodles as Pets and other scams that weren’t
Back in 2007, the ‘odd spot’ sections of newspapers around the world reported on Japanese women buying dogs off of the internet that turned out to be sheep, shaved to look like French poodles.
Since sheep are so rare in Japan, the victims had no idea that their prize pooch was actually a sheep.
Even Japanese movie star Maiko Kawakami was a victim, bringing her ‘dog’ onto a Japanese talk show.
Of course, it was later reported that the story was a hoax. Japanese people know exactly what a sheep looks like and even have a saying “Youtou-kuniku” which means “Sheep’s head, dog’s meat.” The phrase is used to described the sale of inferior products as high quality.