Archive for the ‘Urban legends’ Category

Email Scams, Urban Legends, etc.

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

How many of you have friends or relatives that constantly “forward” the latest and greatest news that they got forwarded to them, PLEASE READ, FIREFIGHTER NEEDS HELP, the lists go on. I have an “all time favorite” cousin that sends me this stuff and it drives me crazy! I love her, I want to stay in touch with her, but I don’t want all this stuff stinking up my in-box that almost every time turns into being untrue. But how do you know?

For an example: She sent me this email about the Swiffer Wet Jet being poisonous to dogs and causing liver failure. Given the fact that Eukanuba had a massive recall in March of 2007 because of some ingredient from China that was causing liver failure, this concerned me. I am dog lover and dog owner. (here is a link to that story).

I definitely was going to read that email she sent me. I went to my cupboard and looked at the labels and because I am no chemistry whiz I didnt know what to think.

So how do you know if these emails are urban legend or as some of the guys in my office call it “FACT or CRAP?

Here is a link to a source that can explain why this happens and why people spread these rumors, of course my first reaction is “GET A LIFE!”

And here is a web source called Snopes that allows you to check out the story yourself. Snopes is interesting because the format is such that you can see the year of origin these rumors start, a quick synopsis of what it is, as well as often they cite verbatim the text in the email you received. AND most importantly, there is a line right up front indicating TRUE or FALSE. In my cousin’s email it indicated that this rumor was verified by snopes so at first I thought – “Oh, oh…” then once I logged into snopes.com myself, I learned it was a hoax all along. Not even to mention that I received this email in December of 2008 and the origin was 2004! If it were true wouldn’t we have heard about a recall by now? I feel bad for the Swiffer Wet Jet people, how many people have stopped buying a product because of something they received on the internet?

Snopes has all kinds of content on it, Political, Fauxtography and many more. You can even subscribe to updates if you want to know what is being posted. I am not willing to say Snopes is 100% accurate, because I don’t know that it is, but it is an easy to use tool that provides evidence to back up its claims which is a lot better than I can say for these emails people send me that create fear and uncertainty. Happy Snoping… you wont be sorry!