A great link to keep handy on the favorites menu of your brower is the Hoax Busters web site. This site systematically addresses most of the major hoaxes that are floating around the ‘net as a result of the increasingly rampant use of the “forward” button.
For example, did you know that:
- Bill Gates is NOT giving away money just because you circulate an email to your friends?
- The virus warning Aunt Edna sent to you is probably instructing you to delete a completely harmless file?
- The American Cancer Society will NOT donate 3 cents toward a fund for a dying girl just because you forward a certain email to your friends and family?
Some of the most handy advice on the site can be found on the “How to Recognize a Hoax” page, which describes the characteristics of a typical hoax. Among the obvious give-aways is the following:
“Probably the first thing you should notice… is the request to ‘send this to everyone you know’ or some variant of that statement. This should raise a red flag that the warning is probably a hoax. No real warning message from a credible source will tell you to send this to everyone you know.”
Please remember, however, that Hoax Busters focuses on emails. It does not apply, for example, to information you read in blogs. Particularly mine, which I am certain is completely, totally, 100% reliable. Probably. On most occasions, at least. I think.
As an example of the kind of rock-solid, reliable information you can expect to find on this blog, consider the following: if you forward a link to this blog to at least ten of your closest friends and family members, an eccentric New Guinea aristocrat will donate 3 cents to the Society for the Prevention of Internet Hoaxes.
So what are you waiting for? Spread the word to everyone you know! The hoax victim you save may be your own. (Or something like that…)