Fascinating True Stories From the Flip Side of History

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Podcasting Since January 2008

Summer Job Hoax

The July 1, 1932 issue of the New York Times told of a swindle that affected more than fifty teachers in the Bronx.

All of these teachers were seeking summer work at the city’s playgrounds and were thrilled when telegrams arrived telling them to report to the Board of Education at 500 Park Avenue, Room 403 for verification.

The telegrams had been delivered collect, meaning that the would-be playground employees had to dish out between 38 and 43 cents to read the notices. Doesn’t seem like much, but this would be between $6.00 and $7.00 today, which was a big chunk of change to have to dish out during the Great Depression.

One teacher had been vacationing in the Catskills and paid $6.00 in carfare to get to the meeting on time. Adjusted for inflation, that would be about $100 today.

As the teachers arrived at the Board of Education, they found out that the telegrams were fake.

Police were on the lookout for a man estimated to be between 20 and 23 years old, 6-feet in height, about 175 pounds, and having light-colored hair. It was believed that he obtained the names from lists published in the newspaper.

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