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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG


Wired: Baiters Teach Scammers a Lesson

by Ken Newquist / August 6, 2006

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. 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.

Do Disposable Chopsticks Foretell a Toxic Doom?

by Ken Newquist / August 2, 2006

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 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.

E-mail Claims Osama Bin Laden Photos Lead to Hard Drive Destruction

by Ken Newquist / July 24, 2006

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.

Full debunkings of this hoax/virus can be found on, and Hoax Slayer.

Hoax Alleges Gang Members Promise Death to High Beam Flashers

by Ken Newquist / July 13, 2006

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!! Remote Possibility: Can a Cellphone Open Locked Car Doors?

by Ken Newquist / June 21, 2005

An e-mail claims that you can get your keys out of a locked car if you a) have keyless entry b) a friend has another set of keys for your car c) you both have cell phones and d) your friend triggers your remote set of keys while your on the phone with them. On problem with this brilliant scheme: it doesn't work. Read the full story.