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Hoaxes, Urban Legends, Chain Email Letters and Fake Virus Warnings
Trying not to be too critical of the masses, I can not help but become frustrated with the seemingly never-ending supply of hopelessly gullible people wandering about the planet in search of a con man to fleece them...
Enough is enough sometimes.... and when I get positively absurd email mails warning me of a new deadly virus that is spread through tv advertisements to your computer if the pc is within 20 ft of a TV, or Bill Gates wanting to give away trips to Disney World if you are one of the first 100 people to send the email to 40 people...These are HOAXES – they are NOT TRUE! The Outback Steak House is not going to give you money, Kelsey Brooke Jones is not missing, and there is no such thing as e-mail tracking! If you receive an e-mail urging you to forward a message that contains a reference to any of these items, please DO NOT, as you will only be helping to perpetrate and perpetuate the hoax. You can read about the five telltale signs to learn how to identify a hoax message.
It's worth noting that just because these are listed as hoaxes doesn't mean that a determined virus writer couldn't use the same name as one of these hoaxes on their infected file and send it out as an e-mail attachment (see Wobbler hoax below). The best way to reduce the risk of getting a real computer virus is to practice SAFE COMPUTING. Click HERE to see a list of recent computer viruses.
Of course this hoax contains the #1 sign of Internet bogusity, "PLEASE PASS THIS ON TO EVERYONE YOU CARE ABOUT!" The experts say that they have never, ever seen an email that contained this admonition that was within spitting distance of being true that and not already amply covered in other news sources.
There are also many urban myths and legends- all those weird stories and unbelievable things you hear... well, most of them aren't true, but some of them are true - find out which are which at Urban 1 and Urban 2
So click on the blue buttons at the top of the page to verify that you have been had (again)!
The next time that you receive an alarming e-mail calling you to action, look for any of these five telltale characteristics before even thinking about sending it along to anybody else.
The e-mail will have a great sense of urgency! You'll usually see a lot of exclamation points and capitalization. The subject line will typically be something like:
2. TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS
There will always be a request that you share this "important" warning by forwarding the message to everybody in your e-mail address book or to as many people as you possibly can. This is a surefire sign that the message is a hoax.
3. THIS ISN'T A HOAX
The body of the e-mail will contain some form of corroboration, such as a pseudoquote from an executive of a major corporation or from a government agency official.
Sometimes the message will include a sincere-sounding
premise. For example:
My neighbor, who works for Microsoft, just received this warning so I know it's true. He asked me to pass this along to as many people as I can.
It's all a bunch of baloney. Don't believe it for a second.
Watch for e-mails containing a subtle form of self-corroboration. Statements such as "This is serious!" or "This is not a hoax!" can be deceiving. Just because somebody says it's not a hoax doesn't make it so.
4. DIRE CONSEQUENCES
The e-mail text will predict dire consequence if you don't act immediately. The message may inform you that the virus will destroy your hard drive, kill your houseplants, or cause green fuzzy things to grow in your refrigerator.
Look for a lot of >>>> marks in the left margin. These marks indicate that people suckered by the hoax have forwarded the message countless times before it has reached you.
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Copyright J Slemmer 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
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