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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

Hoaxes

Downtrodden Debbie Shwartz Hoax Claims AOL Will Give Her Money for E-mail

by Ken Newquist / January 25, 2004

A tragedy-filled,tear-jerking e-mail claims you're a heartless if you don't forward an e-mail that will net a distraught mother .12 cents from AOL for every person you send it to.

But if you do forward it, what you'll be missing isn't your heart -- it'll be another essential organ that usually resides inside your skull.

Blimey! Outback Steakhouse Offers Gift Certificates, Greenbacks

by Ken Newquist / January 21, 2004

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.

"Life Is Beautiful" Virus is a Hoax

by Ken Newquist / January 13, 2004

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:

Virus Hoaxer Claims 'It Takes Guts to Say Jesus'

by Ken Newquist / January 1, 2004

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.

Free Perfume Samples Kill Women Victims

by Ken Newquist / October 26, 2003

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.

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