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Email Hoaxes
Here's a strange email hoax that reportedly is spreading around India:

Tonight a rectoscalar wave is passing at 10.25 pm, Indian Standard Time.... This causes damage in mobiles and computers..... So switch off your mobiles and computers at the specified time... This has been published in todays The Hindu paper also.... Keep fwd this message to your friends and loved ones.....

Is there even such a thing as a rectoscalar wave? I did a google search and didn't pull up anything. Sure hope that wave doesn't reach America. Or maybe it already did. Maybe that's what caused those unfortunate election results.
Categories: Email Hoaxes
Posted by Alex on Wed Nov 03, 2004
Comments (19)
Here's an amusing email that's making the rounds:
I want to thank all of you!
To all my friends and family, Thank you for making me safe, secure, blessed, and wealthy by sending me your chain letters over the last year.
Because of your concern:

  • I no longer drink Coca Cola because it can remove toilet stains.

  • I no longer drink Pepsi or Dr Pepper since the people who make these products are atheists who refuse to put "Under God" on their cans.

  • I no longer drink anything out of a can because I will get sick from the rat feces and urine.

  • I no longer use Saran wrap in the microwave because it causes cancer.

  • I no longer go to movies because I could sit on a needle infected with AIDS

  • I no longer check the coin return on pay phones because I could get pricked with a needle infected with AIDS.

  • I no longer want to pump my own gas - where I will either get AIDS or cause an explosion by cell phone or static.

  • I no longer use cancer causing deodorants even though I smell like a wet dog on a hot day.

  • I no longer go to shopping malls because someone will drug me with a perfume sample and try to rob me.

  • I no longer receive packages from UPS or FedEx since they are actually Al Qaida in disguise.

  • I no longer shop at Target since they are French and don't support our American troops.

  • I no longer answer the phone because someone will ask me to dial a stupid number for which I will get the phone bill from hell with calls to Uganda, Singapore, and Uzbekistan.

  • I no longer eat pre-packaged foods because the estrogens they contain will turn me gay.

  • I no longer eat KFC because their chickens are actually horrible mutant freaks with no eyes or feathers.

  • I no longer look at the opposite sex because they will take my kidneys and leave me taking a nap in a bath tub full of ice.

  • I no longer have a cell phone because I don't want brain cancer.

  • I no longer have any sneakers because I would hate to see all those poor kids in the sweat shops overseas suffering because I wanted a pair of Nike shoes.

  • I no longer buy expensive cookies from Neiman Marcus since I now have their recipe.

  • I no longer worry about my soul because I have 363,214 angels looking out for me.

  • I no longer have any savings because I gave it to a sick girl about to die in the hospital for the 1,000,000,000th time.

  • I no longer have any money but that will change once I receive the $18,624 that Microsoft and AOL are sending me since I participated in their special e-mail program.

I want to thank all of you soooooooo much for looking out for me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now if you DON'T send this e-mail to at least 12,000,000 of your closest friends in the next 6 0 seconds a large bird with diarrhea will crap on your head at exactly 5:00 pm tomorrow!!!!!!!!!
Categories: Email Hoaxes
Posted by Alex on Fri Oct 08, 2004
Comments (18)
According to an email has been circulating around Australia claiming that the town of South Morang has built a replica of the house where the Simpsons live. On the cartoon, Homer and Marge live on 742 Evergreen Terrace, and South Morang does have an Evergreen Drive. Apparently many Simpsons' fans have been spotted driving aimlessly around South Morang searching for the house. Unfortunately for these fans, the replica house doesn't exist. The email is a hoax. But if you're a Simpsons fan the place you should actually visit is Portland, Oregon, the boyhood home of Matt Groening, whose streets apparently inspired the names of many Simpsons characters.
Categories: Email Hoaxes, Entertainment
Posted by Alex on Mon Oct 04, 2004
Comments (16)
image Computer Beast is the name of the first ever card game based on computer viruses, worms, and hoaxes. I'm not quite sure how you play, but it involves cards that depict famous viruses such as the Sasser virus, or hoaxes such as Bonsai Kitten or the Bill Gates Fortune hoax. The game has been out in Germany for a while, but the English version is set to debut later this year. I'll definitely have to try to get my hands on one of these.
Categories: Email Hoaxes
Posted by Alex on Thu Sep 30, 2004
Comments (1)
A collection of Irish personal ads, supposedly culled from the Dublin News, is doing the email rounds. They're in the genre of Brutally Honest Personal Ads (I've reported on examples of this genre before). In this case, I'm guessing that the ads, if they really did appear in the Dublin News, were meant to be tongue-in-cheek (though I haven't seen the paper, so I can't really tell). But whatever the case may be, they're definitely quite funny. Here they are:

Heavy drinker, 35, Cork area. Seeks gorgeous sex addict
interested in a man who loves his pints, cigarettes,
Glasgow Celtic Football Club and starting fights on Patrick
Street at three o'clock in the morning.

Bitter, disillusioned Dublin man, lately rejected by longtime
fiancee, seeks decent, honest, reliable woman, if such a
thing still exists in this cruel world of hatchet-faced bitches.

Ginger haired Galway man, a trouble-maker, gets slit-eyed
and shirty after a few scoops, seeks attractive, wealthy lady
for bail purposes, maybe more.

Bad tempered, foul-mouthed old bastard, living in a damp
cottage in the arse end of Roscommon, seeks attractive 21
year old blonde lady, with a lovely chest.

Devil-worshipper, Offaly area, seeks like-minded lady, for
wining and dining, good conversation, dancing, romantic
walks, and slaughtering cats in cemeteries at midnight
under the flinty light of a pale moon.

Limerick man, 27, medium build, brown hair, blue eyes, seeks
alibi for the night of February 27 between 8 PM and 11:30 PM.

Optimistic Mayo man, 35, seeks a blonde 20 year old
double-jointed supermodel, who owns her own brewery, and has an open-
minded twin sister.

(via Sore Eyes)
Categories: Email Hoaxes, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Tue Aug 17, 2004
Comments (5)
MailFrontier offers a short test that allows you to determine how easily you would fall for a phishing scam. I only got a score of 70%, so evidently I'm not as fraudproof as I thought.
Categories: Email Hoaxes
Posted by Alex on Mon Aug 02, 2004
Comments (13)
A study by an anti-spam firm called MailFrontier found that, on average, 28% of computer users are fooled by email scams. But intriguingly, 20% of users misidentify legitimate emails from companies such as PayPal as scams. This becomes relevant because a lot of people recently received an email informing them of the possibility of joining a class-action suit against PayPal (I got one of these emails in my inbox this morning). The suit is real. The email is legitimate. But quite a few people assumed that it was just another scam and deleted it. John Dvorak, at PC Magazine, muses that the email "almost looks like it has been made to look like a hoax on purpose." Make people think it's a hoax and no one will join the lawsuit. Very clever.
Categories: Email Hoaxes
Posted by Alex on Thu Jul 29, 2004
Comments (5)
image Displaying some very impressive sleuthing skills, Jonathon Keats has apparently solved the mystery of the origin of the ubiquitous Bill-Gates-will-pay-you-to-forward-this-email hoax. He writes about it in an article in Wired. He traced the origin of the hoax back to November 18, 1997 when Iowa State student Bryan Mack was sitting in a campus computer lab and created the first version of the email as a joke that he sent to a friend sitting beside him. It read:

"My name is Bill Gates. I have just written up an email-tracing program that traces everyone to whom this message is forwarded to. I am experimenting with this and I need your help. Forward this to everyone you know, and if it reaches 1,000 people, everyone on the list will receive $1,000 at my expense. Enjoy. Your friend, Bill Gates."

Mack's friend sent it to another friend, who sent it to yet another friend, etc., etc., And the rest was history. Soon it had blossomed into a thousand different forms that found their way into the inbox of just about everyone who's ever used email. Keats notes that Mack had also inadvertently written one of the 'greatest social critiques of our age.' "He'd shown that when it comes to technology, people believe that anything can happen - that invasion of privacy is inevitable - and that even those who don't like it are willing to benefit from it." Oh, and Keats also quoted me in the article, which was a nice, ego-flattering surprise to stumble upon.
Categories: Email Hoaxes
Posted by Alex on Wed Jun 30, 2004
Comments (29)
Here's the latest hoax warning that's going around via email. Actually, it may be quite old, but I've only come across it recently. So here it is:

I hate those hoax warnings, but this one is important! Send this
warning to everyone on your e-mail list.
If someone comes to your front door saying they are conducting a survey
and asks you to take your clothes off, do not do it.!!! This is a scam;
they only want to see you naked. I wish I'd gotten this yesterday. I feel so
stupid and cheap now.....
Categories: Email Hoaxes, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Thu Jun 10, 2004
Comments (5)
A lot of people in New York have been getting an email warning them not to ride the subways this Friday because terrorists may be planning a big attack. It's your typical I-heard-it-from-a-friend-of-a-friend nonsense, laced with a liberal helping of numerology (Friday being 6/11, WTC attack 9/11, Madrid bombing 3/11), plus bogus information (the city hasn't ordered a couple thousand extra body bags). You can read the full email over at Gawker. The New York City Police insist that they have no knowledge of an impending attack.
Categories: Email Hoaxes, Hate Crimes/Terror
Posted by Alex on Thu Jun 10, 2004
Comments (0)
A Phishing scam is... well, I'll just let the webopedia define it because I'm too lazy to write a definition myself. Phishing is "the act of sending an e-mail to a user falsely claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft. The e-mail directs the user to visit a Web site where they are asked to update personal information, such as passwords and credit card, social security, and bank account numbers, that the legitimate organization already has. The Web site, however, is bogus and set up only to steal the user’s information." Here's a very good example of a phishing scam that David Mitchell received in his email and put up on his site. It looks pretty convincing. I could see how people would be fooled by it.
Categories: Email Hoaxes
Posted by Alex on Fri Jun 04, 2004
Comments (2)
image Mark wrote to let me know that the UPS Uniform Email Hoax is making the rounds again (the corporate security at his office thoughtfully forwarded it to everyone he works with). This hoax is an old one, going back almost two years. Basically the email claims that terrorists managed to purchase $32,000 worth of UPS uniforms on eBay, so everyone should have their eyes out for phony UPS employees delivering packages. The latest version of the message has the fake signature of a Homeland Security Official appended to the bottom of it, making it seem even more authentic. The reality is that no such huge sale of UPS uniforms ever took place, and eBay does its best to stop the sale of items such as UPS uniforms. Although I just did a search on eBay for 'UPS Uniforms' and was able to find one extremely good looking uniform. Hopefully eBay will pull this auction soon, but in the meantime, watch out for any snoopy-sized UPS employee trying to deliver you a package.
Categories: eBay, Email Hoaxes
Posted by Alex on Thu May 20, 2004
Comments (3)
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