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Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Want to Avoid Passing Along an Internet Hoax? Just Bookmark Cliff Pickover's Internet Encyclopedia of Hoaxes


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This web site has to have the most comprehensive list of websites dedicated to rooting out phoney emails I have ever seen. Add it to your Menu Bar and you have no excuse for ever passing on a chain letter, phony email alert or falling for an internet hoax ever again.

They also make very funny and informative reading. Cliff uses a star system to rate them. While not ranked by category the titles are revealing.

Cliff Pickover's Internet Encyclopedia of Hoaxes

Chain letters, phoney virus alerts and hoaxes use up bandwidth, can cause people to damage their computers by removing needed files, can carry spyware viruses, trojans or worms in attachments meant to damage your systems, and can even be part of an illegal of fradulent criminal activity meant to separate you from your money, and in some cases, such as RX scams, could even cost you your health or life.

If you don't want to bother using one of these sites, try picking a key phrase from the message - say in the case of the FDR memorial hoax which I got again today, I entered "FDR Memorial hoax" since I suspected it was a hoax and was lazy, normally I would copy a distinctive section of text in quotes and look for a page on a hoax site - and got this hit from Google.com:

WWII Memorial Inscription Omits 'So Help Us God' from Roosevelt ...
... were purposely omitted from the World War II Memorial inscription of Franklin
... I remember FDR saying this too. It has become a sorry state of affairs ...
urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl_war_memorial.htm - 39k - Cached - Similar pages

Urban Legends Hoax Site Report On FDR Memorial Hoax

But, sometimes using Google is not enough, so Cliff Pickover's List is a real find.

Hope you enjoy it.


Wonder how long until this The International School of Blog Technicians is listed? LOL

Of course, it IS clearly marked as a joke!!!

Oh, perhaps you are wondering how I responded to the person who sent me the FDR chain letter in the first place - well - I was cranky so I sent the person and all the other people on the list the following message, this was before finding Cliff's list:

Originated 5/2/2005 Do not remove from this date from the top of this message!

You are receiving this message because according to the addresses listed below
you received the "MISSING WORDS CHAIN LETTER"" according to several Hoax
websites, the originator of this chain letter has been identified and has
admitted that the letter was sent without checking the facts. The facts are
that the paragraph quoted on the statue is NOT the last paragraph of FDR's
famous speech and so it is perfectly reasonable that the ending line paragraphs
later was not included. WHile we can all see sentimental reasons why it might
be included, its omission was NOT a case of editing history.


As you should should know, spotting chain letters can be done by looking for
several common features:

1) They encourage you to send them to everyone you know
2) They tend to be highly inflammatory, appealing to the readers sense of
patriotism, politics or religion
3) They contain errors of fact that may or may not be easy to check but seem so
plausible that who would bother checking them
4) They appeal to your sense of urgency

It is still illegal in the United States to forward chain letters. Not only
were many of them financial pyramid scams, but many of them caused panic and
distress amoung elderly and gullible citizens. In the case of the internet,
they take up valuable internet bandwith and cause a drag on the system.

So, as a moral and responsible person:


-- A Woman in Downers Grove, Illinois Failed to Fix the Chain by checking her
sent messages and sending the people she forwarded the "Missing Words Chain
Letter" too, and within two weeks her children immediately began to endlessly
sing the words to the "Thomas the Tank Engine" The Song day and night until she
went mad and dyed what remained of her hair Blue and Red and began muttering
"He's a very useful engine, you know", over and over in her sleep" until her
husband made her go to a spa and get her buffers repaired. Don't Forget to Fix the Chain!

-- A Man in Long Island, New York Failed to Fix the Chain, and was within a
week inundated with 450,00 pieces of spam all alleging a decline in his
virility so severe that his wife, spying on his e-mail, gave up on the idea
that he was cheating on her and decided that he was a lousy lover instead, and,
left him for a Chain Fixer, in Ossining New York.
Don't Forget to Fix the Chain!

-- A Teenager in Hershey's, PA, failed to fix the chain and during his prom was
horrified to find that a zit the size of a watermelon began to grow from the
center of his forehead until it exploded on his date, the queen of the prom,
and four members of the Varsity Offensive Football Line. He is expected to be
released from intensive care in another 6 months, his date is still undergoing
intense psychotherapy and may never recover.
Don't Forget to Fix the Chain!

-- A Texan, away on an extended busines trip, forgot to break the chain, and
when some of his subordinates traveled abroad they were completely unable to
complete one of their "primary objecticles" which has been a major source of
embarassment to the Texan and his staff. If only he had FIXED THE CHAIN those
WMD's might have been found in Iraq after all.
Don't Forget to Fix the Chain!

-- An entertainer from Gary, IN failed to FIX THE CHAIN and within weeks had a
wardrobe malfunction in front of one of the largest audiences in TV history
making even her brother's fiasco's seem like a nip and tuck operation.

Don't Forget to Fix the Chain!

The above are examples of JUST the kinds of things you often find in Chain
Letters. Be on the look out for them. If you see them - don't forward them.

I know, it's hard, that send button is tempting isn't it. It's just sitting
there, waiting, almost glowing, like some kind of itch just dying to be
scratched, and you even have keyword set up, 99 people will get this beauty
with just two.... little ... clicks ... must ... not .. forward ... could ...
be .. chain.. aaaaaahh!! Click Click

Like a junkie who has gotten his fix, you tremble. Knowing that maybe, Just
maybe you did something a little bit wrong.

Confession time. You knew it, Didn't you. That it might be wrong? To just
blindly forward it as if it were true? But there's no real way to check these
out, right?

Ah, weedhopper, enter the wonderful world of hoax checking websites. Just go
to any of these. Take a section of unsual text, in my case, I included a
section that included " P. 58" and some of the words on either side and it was
so well known it brought up a list of hoax sites for me. But you can start
with the hoax sites if you want.

Here they are: {note: I wrote this before finding Cliff's list so hopefully they were curious and checked my blog and found this posting!}


"So help us God," is not the final line of this speech. The line that the
anonymous woman is overheard recalling as the closer is actually part of the
last sentence of the 11th paragraph - the next-to-last paragraph of the speech.

"Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter
how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American
people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

"I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert
that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very
certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.

"Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our
territory and our interests are in grave danger.

"With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounded determination of our
people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.

"I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack
by Japan on Sunday, December seventh, a state of war has existed between the
United States and the Japanese Empire."

The motherlode - a Whole page of Hoax websites

Many of the rest of these have links directly to the listing of the FDR MISSING
WORDS CHAIN LETTER as a hoax, just in case you are still not convinced.







Focuses on health email. The Purple Pimple virus is breaking out! Don't eat
rutabagas. Brought to you by the Yam association of America (Joke).

Computer Virus Hoaxes These Particularly Have to be Checked ESPECIALLY IF THEY

So check these out first. Sorry. So many have done this. So Sad.



Now that you are suitably chastened for spreading this chain letter, or annoyed
at your friend for sending it to you, here is the upside, looking at these hoax
websites is fun. Some of them are quite funny. You won't believe the stuff that
people fall for. Nigerian investment scams, Love computer viruses, Car Light
Blinking Gang initiations, FDR Memorials deliberately...oh, right. Well still,
its fun.

Now you have all these links to check, or just run some of the key words
through google at least. Or at least label a message like this as unchecked.

The other thing you can do, is make it harder for people to do what I have just
done and capture your e-mail address by sending out mass mailings like this by
bcc' your friends when you send out messages like this. That way, if a spammer
happens to get a hold of the address somehow, they will not be inundated with
mail. Fortunately this is the only message you will get from me unless you
already have been. Some people have disposable email addresses that they use
only for joke stuff, like the one I am using here. If too much spam comes to
it, I will just delete it and start a new, similar one. But in the mean time,
you will notice that you can only see one other address on this message, mine.
But there were quite a few in the chain that I got.

Finally, to make up for this long preachy message, here is a chain letter
message that is not true, but is marked as such, feel free to cut and paste it
and forward it as much as you want as long as you continue to leave in the
information that it is a joke, the copyright information and the address of my
blog which is not at all preachy, just silly.

Maybe a copy of this without your email addresses with appear on the blog in
the future. Maybe. IF YOU FIX THE CHAIN!

Here is an example of humor that looks just like a chain letter. It has all the trademarks:

You Too Can Enter The World Of Internet Blog Repair!


This is followed by a shameless plug for this blog and a reminder to forward the message with the blog plug intact to all the people they had sent this chain letter to.

And I urge you to do the same thing. If you have forwarded any hoaxes lately, I encourage you to FIX THE CHAIN. After all, think of what could happen to you.....

Naw, I made all that stuff up, but I did not make up the part about chain letters and hoaxes being a bad thing for the internet, so check before you forward and feel free to quote any funny stuff from this file. But if you do, be sure to put in the link for my blog so that others can find it too.



Don't Forget to Fix the Chain!!!!!


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