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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Email Hoaxes
LazyTruth Fact-Checking Widget
Posted by The Curator on Wed May 09, 2012
A software company has announced it's making a widget called LazyTruth that will scan all your incoming emails for misinformation: tl;dr: We’re building an inbox widget that surfaces vetted information when you receive an email forward full of political myths, urban rumors, or security threats. It’s called LazyTruth. Basically the widget will scan the text of your incoming emails and check them against "pre-existing nonpartisan information". It's an interesting idea. I'll be curious to see how well it works. Of course, the main problem will be that the people who need the widget most, won't use it. And the widget won't work if some authoritative source hasn't already…
Categories: Email Hoaxes, Technology Comments (3)
New York Times Hoaxed
Posted by The Curator on Tue Dec 23, 2008
The NY Times apologized for printing an email from the Mayor of Paris in which he criticized Caroline Kennedy's bid for Clinton's senate seat. You see, it's easy to put a fake email address in the "From" field, so it's the Times's policy to always check that the person who seems to have sent them an email actually did so. But they didn't do that in this case, and now the Mayor is denying he wrote the email. The Times is "reviewing procedures" to make sure something like this doesn't happen again. Which probably means some underpaid intern is getting yelled at. Link: NY Times. (Thanks, John!)
Will the sun rise for 36 hours on October 17, 2008?
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 29, 2008
A very strange astronomical rumor is circulating: Coming October 17, 2008 the sun will rise continuously for 36 hrs (1.5 days). During this time the US countries will be dark for 1.5 days. It will convert 3 days into 2 big days. It will happen once in 2400 yrs. We're very lucky to see this. Forward it to all your friends. This rumor appears to have come from India, so it means to say that the sun will rise for 36 hours over India, and the Americas will be dark for the same amount of time. Not…
Categories: Email Hoaxes, Science Comments (48)
Boy Abducted by Ircenrraat
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jun 03, 2008
An email doing the rounds in Alaska tells of a boy who was abducted by "ircenrraat" -- which (from what I can gather) are the Alaskan equivalent of leprechauns. The email is written by Nick Andrew Jr., who says that he found the boy standing in the middle of a field. From Anchorage Daily News: The boy said he was "brought into" Pilcher Mountain, a site often associated with ircenrraat encounters. There, he was questioned and saw other "little beings." "He said he made contact with a little girl abducted over 40 years ago," Andrew said. "She told…
Categories: Email Hoaxes, Paranormal Comments (4)
The Viagra Oyster Email Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jun 07, 2007
George May had a clever idea: Let oysters soak in a solution of Viagra for a while, and then sell them as Viagra Oysters. Of course, Pfizer is objecting to this use of its drug, and food-safety officials don't like the idea of selling purposefully contaminated oysters. But still, May is confident he's got a successful product on his hands, and his idea has received quite a lot of media attention. So it pleased him, but didn't surprise him, when he received the following email from Google's corporate offices: "Congratulations! The Viagra oyster story is the fastest growing internet story since 9/11…
Categories: Email Hoaxes Comments (8)
Big Dog Needs Home
Posted by The Curator on Wed Nov 29, 2006
Adela forwarded me this email, wanting to know if it's real or fake: Need a dog?????????? An actual ad from Colorado! FREE to an approved home. Excellent guard dog, loves other small-dog breeds. Answers to the name of Dolly. Will eat anything, owner cannot afford to feed her anymore, as there are no more thieves, murderers, rapists or molesters left in the neighborhood. Your help will be appreciated... The text, I assume, is fake. But the picture looks real. That's just…
Categories: Animals, Email Hoaxes Comments (44)
Quick Links: Giant Gnome, etc.
Posted by Boo on Sun Sep 03, 2006
Giant Gnome Maria Reidelbach's Gnome Chomsky is aiming for a Guinness record for tallest gnome, at a whopping 13 feet, 6 inches tall. Woman Finds Husband's Secret - Female Hormones Catherine Everett was surprised when she walked into the bathroom, only to find her husband admiring his new breasts. Babytoupee.com Coming soon, allegedly... Teenager Sends his Ex-company 5 Million Hoax Emails David Lennon was annoyed when he was fired from his job. So he sent 5 million hoax emails over the course of a week,…
Email Warns of Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jun 30, 2006
Status: True I warn in Hippo Eats Dwarf that "Unsolicited e-mail is not a reliable source of information—about anything" (Reality Rule 7.4). This is especially true of all those random health-related claims that circulate via email warning of flesh-eating bananas, poisonous perfume, toxic tampons, etc. So it's refreshing to find an example of a health-related email warning that's actually true. On May 7, Seattle's KOMO 4 News ran a segment about Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC), a deadly form of cancer that most women are totally unaware of. IBC doesn't present with typical symptoms (there's no lump), and it can't readily be detected with a mammogram. Instead women and doctors alike often mistake IBC's…
Don’t Use Cruise Control In The Rain
Posted by The Curator on Thu Apr 13, 2006
Status: HoaxHere's an email that's been circulating around: "A 36-year-old female had an accident several weeks ago and wrote off her vehicle. It was raining, though not excessively, when her car suddenly began to aquaplane and literally flew through the air. She was not seriously injured but very stunned at the sudden occurrence. When she explained what had happened to a highway patrolman, he told her she should never drive in the rain with cruise control activated. If your car begins to aquaplane, it will accelerate beyond the set cruise control speed when the tyres lose contact with the asphalt."
Categories: Email Hoaxes Comments (25)
Motorcycle Flips Car
Posted by The Curator on Wed Apr 12, 2006
Status: Undetermined (but probably true) Alex Palmer forwarded me the following email which is circulating around, consisting of the following text and four pictures: Subject: Picture is worth a thousand words. The Honda rider was traveling at such a "very high speed", his reaction time was not sufficient enough to avoid this accident. Swedish Police estimate a speed of ~250 KM/h (155mph) before the bike hit the slow moving car side-on at an intersection. At that speed, they predicted that the rider's reaction time (once the vehicle came into view) wasn't sufficient enough for him to even apply the brakes. The car had two passengers and the bike rider was found INSIDE the car with them.…
Categories: Email Hoaxes, Photos/Videos Comments (28)
Rare Time Alignment Tomorrow
Posted by The Curator on Tue Apr 04, 2006
Status: Partially true, partially false An email is circulating around that makes the following claim: On Wednesday of this week (tomorrow), at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 a.m., the time and date will be 01:02:03 04/05/06. This will never happen again. That's just wrong. It probably won't happen again in any of our lifetimes, but it will happen again: in 2106, 2206, 2306, etc. And in Europe they write the date as day, month, year, so it won't be true over there. (But you could fly over to the UK and experience the same 'rare' phenomenon on May 4th of this year!)
Categories: Email Hoaxes Comments (9)
Carjacker Strategy: Place Paper On Your Rear Window
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jan 26, 2006
Status: Theoretically could happen (though there's no solid evidence it ever has) You may have received this email warning recently: Imagine: You walk across the parking lot, unlock your car and get inside. Then you lock all your doors, start the engine and shift into REVERSE. Habit! You look into the rear-view window to back out of your parking space and you notice a piece of paper, some sort of advertisement stuck to your rear window. So, you shift into PARK, unlock your doors and jump out of your vehicle to remove that paper (or whatever it is) that is obstructing your view... when you reach the back of your car, that is when the…
The GTC Group Billion Dollar Trust
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jan 17, 2006
Status: Scam Here's an offer that has scam written all over it. The GTC Group (I'm kind of reluctant to link to their website, on the off chance that I'll help send a victim their way, but here it is) claims that if you agree to establish a trading account in their name (no money or fees required!), they will pay you, and 5000 other lucky volunteers, $24,000. They're circulating this claim via email. Here's how they explain the deal on their website: Our client is a family trust with $1B to invest. We recently presented them with an investment opportunity to make a return of 18% without risk. Unfortunately, this opportunity involves the…
Categories: Con Artists, Email Hoaxes Comments (23)
Potential new risk from mobile phones
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jan 10, 2006
Status: Partially true, partially fake Dipankar Mitra sent me this graphic which is circulating via email, warning of a "Potential new risk from mobile phones." He notes that it's accompanied by a caption that reads: Please use left ear while using cell (mobile), because if you use the right one it will affect brain directly. This is a true fact from Apollo medical team. Please forward to all your well wishers He asks, "Do let me know if it is real or hoax..." Well, the caption is definitely a hoax. I have…
Categories: Email Hoaxes, Technology Comments (8)
Email Warns of Hidden Camera in Tanning Salons
Posted by The Curator on Wed Nov 30, 2005
Status: Hoax A small British newspaper reports that tanning salons in New Eltham (which, I guess, is a suburb of London) are being targeted by a hoax email warning that hidden cameras are snapping photos of women as they tan. The email is accompanied by "dozens of revealing pictures of naked women using tanning beds, who are obviously unaware they are being photographed." (Two of the pictures are below.) The article continues: Angry women who use tanning beds are circulating the pictures to each other, believing them to be genuine and warning their friends and family not to use the salon. Apparently the candid pictures actually show a tanning salon in California. The…
Categories: Email Hoaxes, Photos/Videos Comments (14)
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