Free money and Outback Steakhouse gift certificates await those who forward an e-mail tracking e-mail everyone in their address book. But like all of the emails promising big money and free stuff for annoying your friends and family, the RH Power Inc./Outback Steakhouse e-mail is a hoax.
An e-mail that claims that life won't be beautiful if you unleash a virus hidden in a Power Point attachment is a hoax.
The hoax says the name of this nefarious hoax is "Life is Beautiful" and claims it will simultaneously cause you to lose everything on your computer and give the evil hacker "life owner" control of your e-mail and password.
Fortunately, everything about this e-mail is bogus.
Here's the original hoax:
Jesus wants your soul. He also wants your hard drive. Or at least that's what the writer of the "It Take Guts to Say Jesus" virus hoax would have readers believe.
This hoax is ancient -- I got my first copy back in 1998, and it's actually the e-mail that inspired me to launch Nuketown's hoax debunking section. I received dozens of these e-mails from well meaning friends, and I finally snapped and decided to do something about it. Of course, years later these hoaxes -- even this one -- are still circulating, but I think Nuketown has played at least a small part in stemming the tide of idiocy.
An e-mail allegedly penned by veteran Dick Forrey claims that Target, the national chain of discount department stores, refuses to donate to veteran organizations.
Drawing on remembered fear of the anthrax scare, an e-mail hoax is alleging that seven women have died after inhaling few perfume samples they received in the mail.
I wrote the original debunking on 12/16, but updated it on 10/24 with new information from the CDC (which further debunks the hoax).
Here's the original e-mail:
Date Captured: 4/6/2002
Seven women have died after inhaling a free perfume sample that was mailed to them. The product was poisonous. If you receive free samples in the mail such as lotions, perfumes, diapers etc. throw them away .
The government is afraid that this might be another terrorist act. They will not announce it on the news because they do not want to create panic or give the terrorists new ideas. Send this to all your friends and family members."
When confronted about forwarding e-mails to people, one of the things I hear most often is "well, you never know". Well folks, in this case, we damn well do know. Even without having searched on line, I knew this e-mail was a hoax. In the post-9/11 world in which we all live, it is impossible for seven women to have been killed by perfume samples without being bombarded by the news every hour of every day, from every imaginable news source.
In 1999/2000, an e-mail hoax surfaced claiming that a man in Hawaii died after being exposed to rat urine in the back room of a supermarket. Although it offered good advice -- always wipe off your soda can before drinking from it -- the content's were false. The hoax has gained a few paragraphs since it first appeared, but it's no more true than the day it surfaced.
SARS has taken a heavy toll, both in terms of human life and economic prosperity. A new e-mail hoax plays off of that malady, combining it with malease over the Iraq War in a play to get people to forward a useless e-mail around the net.
The hoax alleges that British Airways, aided (as in all such hoaxes) by Microsoft are tracking e-mails. Forward enough messages, and they'll give you a free plane ticket.
Naturally, it's bogus.