Oh, e-mail hoaxes! How often we are sucked into your evil plots.
Today’s web site is helpful when you get an email that has been forwarded to you by a good friend or family member, and you think, “I don’t think so, but maybe…” Snopes has been around since Al Gore invented the internet.
I’ll tell you, that I’ve pretty much given up telling certain people that their forwarded emails are hoaxes. (Unless it involves money or a reason to be frightened.) I’ve told them several times to check the web site before they send these because I’ve checked and the story they sent me (and countless others) just isn’t true.
Having been a fan of urban legends for almost 20 years, I find some of these kind of interesting. The Mrs. Field’s cookie story has been around for a number of years. Before that, it was a Neiman Marcus cookie recipe, and apparently, before that it was a red velvet cake recipe. This is one of those stories that makes you feel good because finally someone got revenge on a large corporation. Unfortunately, it’s just not true.
Other hoaxes just look for suckers to believe their story in order to make money off of the reader/participant. Hence, the Nigerian Prince email. Just like your parents warned you, “If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.” This type of scam is multiplying rapidly and we can thank the internet for that one.
A lot of political ones are spreading like wildfire as well. If you are unhappy with the government, pass along those rumors, people! Regardless of which party is in the White House or Congress, these babies seem to have a mind of their own and are quickly shared.
Lately, I’ve noticed several emails have started with, “I checked this out on snopes.com and it is REAL!” Well, the problem with that is the sender (your friends) has not checked Snopes, they just forwarded the email from their friend, believing it was true because it said it had been checked out.
Before I go, I must share with you my favorite urban legend. This one was around before the internet existed, and a guy I worked with was just sure it was true. It happened to a friend of a friend! (Those of us that keep up with urban legends call these FOAF stories.) Conveniently, you see, no one ever knows the actual person involved, so it is nearly impossible to trace the story back to a reliable source.
So, please check out the site before you start looking under your car in a parking lot or pass that warning onto your friends and family members. Otherwise, if you read enough of these, you’ll never leave the house!