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A hoax is an attempt to trick one or more people to believe that something false is real. Unlike a fraud or con, which are made for illicit financial or material gain, or a pious fraud, which is perpetrated for religious reasons, a hoax is often perpetrated as a practical joke with a humorous intent, to cause embarrassment, for personal aggrandizement or to serve political purposes. Still, many confidence tricks and the like have also been labeled as hoaxes.

Many hoaxes are also motivated by a desire to satirize or educate by exposing the credulity of the public or the absurdity of the target: literary and artistic hoaxes are often of this sort, although political hoaxes are sometimes motivated in part or whole by the desire to ridicule or expose politicians or political institutions.

The status of a given factoid as reliable or hoax is often the subject of considerable controversy.

Table of contents
1 Historically Important Hoaxes
2 External links

Historically Important Hoaxes

Proven Hoaxes

Probable Hoaxes

Possible Hoaxes

Practical Joke Hoaxes

Known pranksters

Hoaxes of Exposure

"Hoaxes of exposure" can be thought of as semi-comical, private sting operations. Their usual purpose is to expose people acting foolishly or credulously, to encourage them to fall for something that the hoaxer hopes to reveal as patent nonsense. See also culture jamming.

Too creative journalists

Journalist may be over-eager to "get a story", both to increase his own prestige or write something that would increase the sales of the publication.

Fictitious people

See also: famous April Fool's Day jokes, forgery, Impostors, Internet humour

External links