Sunday, May 28, 2006

How is it possible there are still people who forward hoax e-mails???

I got another one the other day:

Subject: Re: Missing 13 year old girl
Body of e-mail begins: Date: May 10, 2006 12:58 PM Please look at the picture, read what her mother says, then forward his message on. [Image removed] Maybe if everyone passes this on, someone will see this child.
Oh the humanity, the urgency! Of the 112 e-mail addresses and 3 states (I counted) this dire plea had traveled...NO ONE bothered to check this out before mindlessly forwarding it on. Why?? Heck, a person applying a little common sense could read the e-mail and conclude it was more than likely a sham. The lack of details about the alleged incident (how did she go missing? who was the last to see her? what are her vital statistics?) as well as the complete omission of any reference to law enforcement working the case would've had me guessing.

But FOLKS - you don't even have to read the e-mail or break out your Home CSI Kits to figure this out. Why? Because 90% of the time, the good folks at http://www.snopes.com/ have already done that for you. In fact, you can help STOP THE INSANITY (ty Susan Powter for that phrase) by telling everyone you know to STOP forwarding those inane e-mails UNLESS they first check it out on Snopes.

I used to worry about embarrassing my friends, acquaintances, suitors, etc. by replying just to them with the info that they'd been had, and btw, here is the proof at http://www.snopes.com/. NO MORE! Nowadays when I get sham-spam from those in my trusty address book, I use the dreaded 'REPLY-TO-ALL' feature to expose the fraud. It goes something like this:

FYI - this is a hoax. See: http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/missing/ashleyflores.asp p.s. I usually check http://www.snopes.com/ when I want to verify items like this. (Although they also have info on urban legends in general, not just emails or online shenanigans).
That little quip is e-mailed to the sender of said sham-spam, along with everyone they sent it to when sending it to me. Heck, in my quest to educate, I've even been known to grab all the e-mail addresses along the trail and include them, too.

It is my sincere hope that a recipient of this newfound knowledge will stop and think before forwarding future questionable e-mails. As a result of the sheer embarrassment at having been exposed mindlessly forwarding sham-spam like some kind of e-lemming running off the forward-all-emails-Cliffs-of-Insanity (ty Princess Bride for that phrase) they will a) now take the time to check it out first, or b) stop forwarding e-mails altogether. (Either one will work for me.)

So consider yourself warned people. Do your civic duty and check things out before you "forward-to-all". After all, when they enact the e-mail tax, you'll only be hurting yourself.

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