“Scope Out” those Hoax e-mails with Snopes

July 19, 2010 at 10:43 pm 1 comment

My Human gets a lot of e-mail from friends and relatives containing “helpful health & safety tips”. Unfortunately, most of the tips are complete fakes—hoax e-Mails. Some of them have been circulating in cyberspace for years.

But she knows that it isn’t her friends fault. They meant well and just didn’t know that what they were sending was the high-tech version of the old “Chain Letter”. So she politely lets them (and everybody on the mailing list) know that the message was a hoax and how they can detect them in the future. Now, everybody sends her their messages to find out if they are fake or real.

There’s a great site you can go to to scope out the truth.  It’s called www.Snopes.com, and has been debunking hoax e-mails since 1995. It was started by California couple Barbara & David Mikkelson (I wonder if they have any cats).

All you have to do is go to Snopes (yes, it’s spelled with an “n”, not a “c”) and type a part of the e-mail subject or a phrase in the Search box.

Snopes will give you the unvarnished results of its findings so you will be the savviest cat on your block.

There’s an old saying that “The most believable lie contains a grain of truth”, and that applies to a lot of hoax letters.

Just to give you an idea how far people believe some of these, a customer in a bank was told by the teller that entering his PIN backwards in any ATM will alert the police. (The information came from an e-mail the Teller got.)  This customer would have gone through life believing this had he not talked to a geeky friend who showed him the information was false.

So remember, when it doubt, Snopes it out!

–“cc”, The Computer Cat

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Entry filed under: computer help, eMail, seniors. Tags: , , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. cc  |  July 26, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    Hi, it’s me, cc again with an update! As busy as they are with Snopes.com and their foster projects, Barbara Mikkelson took time to send a little cat me an eMail.

    It turns out that the Mikkelson’s have 5 cats and three rats! (See? If cats and rats can get along, why can’t you humans?). Plus, they’re fostering 3 kittens. (http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=62363)

    Reader’s Digest published an April 2009 article about the Mikkelsons and Snopes.com’s humble origins. You can read it by clicking on this link:
    http://www.rd.com/your-america-inspiring-people-and-stories/rumor-detectives-true-story-or-online-hoax/article122216.html

    Thanks Barbara!

    Like

    Reply

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