Monday, March 30, 2009

Email Hoaxes [UPDATED 2/4/09]

I've blogged before about one of my pet hates – the dreaded mail and Internet scams and hoaxes. Well, a few minutes ago I received an email that's been doing the rounds for at least three years to my knowledge (because I've received it about a dozen times in one form or another) and which also popped up on FaceBook recently – it's the one about the murdering twosome Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, who killed toddler Jamie Bulger in England in 1993. According to the email they've just been released from gaol and are supposedly in the process of being shipped to Australia. You're supposed to sign a petition to keep them off our shores. 

Well I've just discovered a great website called Hoax-Slayer, which nullifies this scenario and many others. Some of the broad subject areas covered include Nigerian scams, celebrity email hoaxes, and virus information.

This website also gives you tips on how to recognise a hoax or scam, as well as how to deal with them. For example, it tells us that these email hoaxes cover a range of subject matter, including:
Supposedly free giveaways in exchange for forwarding emails
Bogus virus alerts
False appeals to help sick children
Pointless petitions that lead nowhere and accomplish nothing
Dire, and completely fictional, warnings about products, companies, government policies or coming events.
So ... don't send any of these tall tales our way. We don't have time for them and they deserve no energy. And by the way, Venables and Thompson were released in 2001 and God knows where they are!

UPDATE: Just today I received an email about a woman in Texas dying from a disease called leptospirosis, which was caused by rat urine on a soda can top. I ran it through Hoax-Slayer, and hey presto, up came an entire page on the subject and yes, you guessed it, it's a hoax that's been in circulation since 2002 with a Belgian variation as well. I LOVE YOU Hoax-Slayer!