"Error, indeed, is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest, being thus exposed, it should at once be detected. But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its outward form, to make it appear to the inexperienced (ridiculous as the expression may seem) more true than truth itself."


Hoax CheckUp Pages

    This page contains links to pages which verify or debunk many of the emails circulating on the internet, and set your facts straight, including:

  • How to Handle Valid Virus Warnings

  • Report to Official Scam and Fraud
                Reporting Sites; and sidebar

  • Why   I created this page
                                ...a caring solution.
Bookmark this page to easily FIND the FACTS!
If you need a personal reason to refrain from forwarding unvalidated email disinformation, consider this:
hoax forwarding is the trademark behavior of a new and inexperienced computer user. How do YOU want to be perceived by your friends and colleagues?
Useful links to the U.S. Department of Energy's CIAC (Computer Industry Advisory Capability) Pages for checking on validity of email warnings, stories, and offers:

How to spot a Hoax,
and How to Handle It, by U. S. Department of Energy and the CIAC computer incident response team.

Check the Facts
... in that Email Before You Forward. Public Service Pages by the Office of the Chief Information Officer of the U. S. Department of Energy and the CIAC computer incident response team.


... neither Bill Gates, nor Outback Steakhouse, (nor anyone else) is going to pay you money for forwarding emails.

Although you might, however, complete a form on a business page, and download a coupon!

Of course, if you, essentially "sell" your friends' email addresses in exchange for a coupon, you may not have many very long,

... coupons OR friends.


Validate or Debunk Urban Legends

Electronic Ephemera
FREE service Offered by ChekWARE to help debunk email disinformation, such as Hoaxes, Scams, Spoofs, Urban Legends, Chain E-Mails.

UL Archive
Urban Legend evaluations in a usenet group archive online since 1991. Use the site's "Google" search to type in keywords and locate subjects.

Check out rumors, inspirational stories, virus warnings, humorous tales, pleas for help, urban legends, prayer requests and calls to action to see if they are TRUTH! or FICTION! ...your Email Reality Check!

Urban Legends Reference Pages
--by Barbara and David P. Mikkelson

A site designed just to debunk email hoaxes!

Health Related Hoaxes and Rumors
Center For Disease Control's Health Hoaxes Page


"There are a lot of viruses out there. And then there are some viruses that aren't really out there at all. Hoax virus warning messages are more than mere annoyances. After repeatedly becoming alarmed, only to learn that there was no real virus, computer users may get into the habit of ignoring all virus warning messages, leaving them especially vulnerable to the next real, and truly destructive, virus."

--NAI / McAfee

These Info-Evaluators focus on VIRUS HOAXES

Hoax Encyclopedia
on the About.com website provides a comprehensive list of the most common hoaxes; great VIRUS hoax list.
Virus Hoaxes & Hysteria
from A to Z Rob Rosenberger's Site
Symantec Hoax List
Is it Virus or Spam?
Hoax List & Virus Bulletins
Includes a Virus Glossary
Virus Hoax Warnings
Hoaxbusters.org -- Big List
(Not related to .gov site at CIAC)


"Be aware that the people who create viruses can use known hoaxes to their advantage. A good example is the AOL4FREE hoax. This began as a hoax warning about a nonexistent virus. Once it was known that this was a hoax, somebody began to distribute a destructive trojan horse (a trojan horse differs from a virus in that it does not reproduce itself) in a file named AOL4FREE, attached to the original hoax virus warning!"


    ALERT!More than 58,000 virus threats exist today. The McAfee AVERT Virus Information Library has detailed information on where viruses come from, how they infect your system, and how to remove them.

    Virus Information Library
    Listing of Real Computer Virus Threats.

    NAI Hoaxes Page
    Including links to solutions if the HOAX caused you problems.
      a Service of McAfee (division) of Network Associates Inc (NAI).

Beware the plague of chain letters, e-mails which pass from person to person, growing in size and spreading misinformation along the way. ... people are deceived, bandwidth is clogged and your friends are terrorized.

Breaking the Chains

Curse of a Thousand Chain Letters
Provides understanding of dangers of email chain letters.
Chain letter information
Break The Chain
Your source for common-sense evaluations of e-mail chain letters
Missing Kids?
Before forwarding a 4 year old email about a child returned home 3 years ago, check The 4thekids website, which keeps a page of active-status missing child reports. This site represents "a new group of web citizens" committed "to do whatever we can to help missing children and their families."
Christians United For The Truth
"CUFT urges you not to help encourage [a] world-view of Christians as people who will believe anything by being informed, savvy people. "
Stiller Research Alphabetic Hoax List
What is a "SCAM?"
A scam is a fraudulent scheme for making a quick profit, according to Webster's.

     & A perfect example, is the ubiquitous "Send me five bucks and I'll send you a plan to make thousands!" Many "pyramid" and "networking" so-called "opportunities" which have you making more money from recruiting other people than from selling goods or services also fall in this category.
     While we are not saying all offers are fraudulent, many are. Again, if its too good to be true, trust your common-sense.

Scam and Fraud Information and Reporting Sites


    How to Handle Virus Warnings

    Advice from NAI/McAfee...
It is difficult to resist the temptation to forward email warnings, "just-in-case." Try to remember that JIC forwarding is itself damaging. What SHOULD we do when we receive virus warnings?
  1. Take a moment, delaying that instant reaction. Realize that if it's a REAL threat, the news media and legitimate antivirus sources will publish all the necessary alerts.
  2. Check out the facts. The Hoax Information Centerprovides a comprehensive list of the most common hoaxes.
  3. If you are in an enterprise, ask your system administrator to verify its accuracy.
  4. Try a simple search on a site such as Google to see what information there is about it. [Or any of the links we've provided on this page! --mcy]
  5. When in doubt, don't sent it out!

Handling Legitimate Virus Reports...

    If you've received a report of a legitimate virus, you still should not forward it. Instead, take a few moments to find a valid link on an antivirus or security site (such as NAI McAfee or Symantec using links on this page) and send the link-to-the-TRUTH back to your sender instead. Then you will REALLY be doing your Internet friends a favor.

Why I bothered to set up this link page

--by maribeth

I receive over a hundred emails every day; about 30% are advertising, which might be considered "spam," but it is legitimate advertising from reputable companies. Another 5% are from questionable sources offering me the proverbial "get rich quick" scheme. These are easy to sort and dispose of quickly - even automatically using filtering software. Sadly, I cannot just "can" emails of dear friends and relatives, nor respected work associates or fellow organization members. These must be opened and reviewed. It is all too often that they are sending me [with best intentions] erroneous "bomb scares" so to speak, regarding supposed computer viruses. Even worse though, is the mass of chain-letter type mailings, with insistence that I must forward to a number of people, or else...

  1. 1. reap "bad luck" ... assuming I am an easily intimidated, fearful and superstitious person.
  2. 2. miss out on free money or gifts ... assuming I am a gullible and greedy person.
  3. 3. indicate that I lack commitment to my faith ...assuming that the sender may judge my level of faith by their own criteria.
Most good folks don't realize how their good intentions can be hurtful.

What is an "Urban Legend?"

"An urban legend:"
  • appears mysteriously and spreads spontaneously in varying forms
  • contains elements of humor or horror (the horror often "punishes" someone who flouts society's conventions).
  • makes good storytelling.
  • does NOT have to be false, although most are.
  • ULs often have a basis in fact, but it's their life after-the-fact (particularly in reference to the second and third points) that gives them particular interest."

--according to Peter van der Linden and Terry Chan,
as presented in their user group alt.folklore.urban FAQ

Links compiled by Maribeth C. Yarnell at Eaglecliff Incorporated.
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