Posts tagged “fraud”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • The most misused SSN of all time was 078-05-1120 [] – In 1938, wallet manufacturer the E. H. Ferree company in Lockport, NY decided to promote its product by showing how a Social Security card would fit into its wallets. A sample card for display purposes was inserted in each wallet. Vice President Douglas Patterson thought it would be a clever idea to use the actual SSN of his secretary, Hilda Whitcher. The wallet was sold by Woolworth stores and other department stores all over the country. Even though the card was only half the size, printed all in red, and had the word "specimen" written across it, many purchasers adopted the SSN as their own. In 1943, 5,755 people were using Hilda's number. SSA acted to eliminate the problem by voiding the number and publicizing that it was incorrect to use it. (Mrs. Whitcher was given a new number.) However, the number continued to be used for many years. In all, over 40,000 people reported this as their SSN. As late as 1977, 12 people were found to still be using the SSN "issued by Woolworth."

An idea so crazy it just might work?

There may be frustrated designers doing some important government work. In what reads like an Onion article, this story describes how investigators submitted 20 phony products to the US Energy Star certification program. Three were ignored, and 2 were rejected. An 18″ x 15″ alarm clock (model name: Black Gold) that runs on gasoline was approved. As was the room air cleaner pictured above, made up of a space heater with fly strips and a feather duster. Maybe the Energy Star folks were giving extra points for bravado and “made us laff.”


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