8 Funny Pranks That Financial Planning Firms Pulled Off On April Fool’s Day

Mar 29, 2018 | 9 months ago | Read Time: 5 minutes | By iKnowledge Team

April 1st – a day colloquially known as “April Fool’s Day” – is a day specifically marked for pranksters! This has led to big businesses including finance and investment companies trying to pull a fast one on their customers — in a good-humoured way, of course!

Giants like Google or Burger King started the April Fool’s Day shenanigans but they are not the only companies having fun with pranks on April 1. From life insurance companies and weather services to restaurants and banks, everyone, here is a list of the best financial pranks that fooled the world.

ZEBRA Savings Account

The London Sunday Telegraph spread the news that a new savings bank account was in the market and was offering the best rate available. The account was supposedly called ZEBRA, short for Zero Energy Best Rate Account, which was being offered by a Hungarian bank called Loof Lirpa through its British subsidiary. The attractive rates were a result of a ‘complicated mix of investment vehicles, including swaps, options, futures and pixies.’ Thousands of people started calling the UK daily asking for more information. When the prank came to light, it was found that there was no such bank and Loof Lirpa spelled backwards was April Fool!

Wall Street Disaster

Back in 1925, some pranksters tried to trick large brokerage offices on the Wall Street. Several large houses received telephonic messages saying that there were large quantities of stock ‘at the market’. Such a situation would have panicked the brokers because if true, it would have alarmingly reduced the stock prices. However, this prank was a damp squib as the brokers, who were familiar with the real voices of their customers, realised they were being pranked and did not carry out any of those orders.

The Fake One-Legged Bird

The National Bank of Denmark issued a 20-kroner banknote back in 1980. The note had two sparrows, one of which had only one leg. The Roskilde Tidende newspaper declared that all the notes that showed only one leg of the sparrow were fake. As expected, a large number of people turned up at the exchange only to find out that the Danish bank had played a practical joke. You wish you were similarly ‘punked’ when the government announced the demonetisation move, didn’t you?

UK Tax Refund

London Times published an ad announcing that everyone in the UK would get a tax refund of £2,030. The fine print under that ad said that this refund was a kind of apology from the Conservative Party and to collect this money, people had to write to the party’s headquarters. In reality, there was no refund heading people’s way. The ad was placed by the Labour Party, making it the first April Fool’s prank played by a British political party. That one must have stung the Tories for some time!

The Yenom Tree

We’ve all wondered how it would be if money grew on trees. Now that is something everybody wants, isn’t it? The days of 1963 were no different. VIEW magazine published an article talking about the existence of Yenom Tree, a ‘rare perennial’ that was owned by a Mrs Loo Flirpa of Appleton, Wisconsin. The tree was supposedly intensively bred and apparently sprouted bright, green American one-dollar bills with uniformly high serial numbers. The article also said that because of an unusual mutation, that year, the tree had sprouted a ‘flawless five-dollar bill’. It was also revealed that Mrs Flirpa was going to sell the tree’s seedlings to the US Mint via the Federal Reserve System. All this was a hoax and the woman’s name spelled backwards was April Fool. Imagine the wide-spread disappointment!

Taxing Refund

A Hawaiian DJ named Hal ‘Aku Head’ Lewis made an announcement on the radio that the US government had approved statehood of Hawaii and was offering immediate refunds of all 1953 Federal taxes to the island’s residents. Phone calls flooded the banks, radio stations, newspapers and even the Internal Revenue Bureau. This, of course, was a good-humoured hoax and the station issued an apology and said they would fire Lewis – which also turned out to be a prank!

Government to Share Budget Surplus

A Dutch radio program had announced that the government was planning to share its budget surplus equally among taxpayers. The radio station started receiving an excited response from its eager listeners to know about how to get their share of money. Of course, by now you’d have guessed what happened next.

AFP – The Stock Joke

When a new stock ‘AFP’ showed up on the bulletin board of the Detroit Stock Exchange, people thought it stood for ‘American Fire Protection’. It opened at $6, rose to $12, fell to $2 and then steadied at $8. When someone checked with the Securities Commission, it was found that that stock was not authorised or even legal for that matter. It was later found out that AFP stood for April Fool Preferred or All Fools Preferred.

Now, imagine if these were not just fun and games? Imagine you standing in line to exchange currency notes because you got conned into buying fake ones or buying stocks that were of an illegal source!

But in case something like this happens for real, how would you protect yourself? One of the ways could be through life insurance plans. You can protect yourself and your family financially by opting for a term insurance or a unit-linked insurance plan (ULIP). This way, you’d be able to safeguard your family in case the joke turned ugly.

GIFs Source: Giphy


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