Phishing season is about to begin in earnest as holiday shoppers flock to web sites to buy presents for their loved ones ... and fall victim to a variety of scams aimed at tricking folks into believing their at a trusted retailer's web site when it fact its a dummy site created by a bunch of scammers in [insert obscure country name here]. CNN looks at a bunch of possible scams, from phishing to fake auctions.
I need more hoaxes to debunk. From Nuketown's search logs, I can tell that people are looking for information about hoaxes, including many hoaxes that I haven't debunked. What they're not doing, however, is telling me about those hoaxes. And there's not a lot I can do debunking-wise if I don't have the text of a hoax to investigate.
This is an open call for hoax submissions. If you have one you'd like to see debunked send the complete text of the suspect e-mail to me by emailing me at email@example.com,
Snopes.com debunks the rumor that Willie Nelson quipped "It's a good thing I had a bag of marijuana instead of a bag of spinach. I'd be dead by now" after his tour bus was raided for drugs, and in the wake of hundreds being sickened by E. coli-contaminated spinich.
Neil Armstrong long maintained that when he uttered his famous phrase "One Small Step for Man, One Giant Leap for Mankind", there was an 'a' in there between 'for' and 'Man'. Austrialian programmer Peter Shann Ford analyzed NASA's recording of the phrase, and says Armstrong was right. It'd be nice to if other researchers confirmed the existance of the missing "a", which has dogged Armstrong for years (as this account on Snopes.com shows).
The "Virtual Card for You" e-mail hoax has mutated yet again, promising hard drive devastation in a slightly different form: that of an Olypmic torch that "burns" your hard drive. While it earns bonus points for imagry, "Invitation" remains just as false as its predecessors.
Here's the text of the email:
Date Captured: 8/17/2006
Be considerate & send this warning to whomever you know. PLEASE FORWARD THIS WARNING AMONG FRIENDS, FAMILY AND ALL CONTACTS!:
For years, third-world scammers have been getting first-world greedy fools to part with their money by promising them millions in exchange for their account information. Now international bands of vigilantes are turning the tables by replying the scammers and getting them to undertake all manner of bizarre tasks, from getting tattooes to taking photographs of themselves to sending money. Wired.com has the full story.
My sympathy for those who get scammed is limited -- if you honestly think that you can get 10% of the fortune left to the widow of a Nigeran army general by allowing your bank account to serve as a money laundry, then you'll probably get what you deserve.
For the last few weeks I've seen people searching for "toxic chopsticks" on Nuketown, which I assumed was in regards to some sort of hoax, but since no one ever sent me the text, I couldn't debunk it.
This morning I tried searching Snopes.com and came up with the story "Chopsticks". According to Snopes, the original e-mail claims that disposable chopsticks can cause cancer via bleach left over from their creation. It's based on a post made to Chinese-language message boards, and it's definitely bogus.
An e-mail claiming to showcase photos of a hanged/hanging and/or captured Osama din Laden is a hoax. The e-mail originated as an attempt to get people to download a trojan horse virus on to their computer, but it later morphed into a scare mail warning people about the alleged apocalyptic dangers of opening the e-mail. The virus itself has been neutralized, and the dangers were never as bad as what the hoax e-mail claims.
Somewhere in America, someone is flashing their high beams at a car with their lights off ... invoking sudden death as gangbangers unleash a hail of bullets into their car, or so a hoax email would have us believe. In truth, there is no such crime being committed, not today, and not in 1993 when the hoax started spreading via fax machines.
DON'T FLASH HEADLIGHTS AT ANY CAR WITH NO LIGHTS ON!!