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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Email Hoaxes
LazyTruth Fact-Checking Widget — A software company has announced it's making a widget called LazyTruth that will scan all your incoming emails for misinformation: tl;dr: We’re building an inbox widget that surfaces vetted information when you receive an email forward full of political myths, urban rumors, or security threats. It’s called LazyTruth. Basically the widget will scan the text of your incoming emails and check them against "pre-existing nonpartisan information". It's an interesting idea. I'll be…
Posted: Wed May 09, 2012.   Comments (3)

New York Times Hoaxed — The NY Times apologized for printing an email from the Mayor of Paris in which he criticized Caroline Kennedy's bid for Clinton's senate seat. You see, it's easy to put a fake email address in the "From" field, so it's the Times's policy to always check that the person who seems to have sent them an email actually did so. But they didn't do that in this case, and now the Mayor is denying he wrote the email. The Times is "reviewing procedures" to make sure something like this doesn't…
Posted: Tue Dec 23, 2008.   Comments (2)

Will the sun rise for 36 hours on October 17, 2008? — A very strange astronomical rumor is circulating: Coming October 17, 2008 the sun will rise continuously for 36 hrs (1.5 days). During this time the US countries will be dark for 1.5 days. It will convert 3 days into 2 big days. It will happen once in 2400 yrs. We're very lucky to see this. Forward it to all your friends. This rumor appears to have come from India, so it means to say that the sun will rise for 36 hours over India, and the Americas will be dark for the same amount of…
Posted: Mon Sep 29, 2008.   Comments (48)

Boy Abducted by Ircenrraat — An email doing the rounds in Alaska tells of a boy who was abducted by "ircenrraat" -- which (from what I can gather) are the Alaskan equivalent of leprechauns. The email is written by Nick Andrew Jr., who says that he found the boy standing in the middle of a field. From Anchorage Daily News: The boy said he was "brought into" Pilcher Mountain, a site often associated with ircenrraat encounters. There, he was questioned and saw other "little beings." "He said he made contact with a…
Posted: Tue Jun 03, 2008.   Comments (4)


The Viagra Oyster Email Hoax — George May had a clever idea: Let oysters soak in a solution of Viagra for a while, and then sell them as Viagra Oysters. Of course, Pfizer is objecting to this use of its drug, and food-safety officials don't like the idea of selling purposefully contaminated oysters. But still, May is confident he's got a successful product on his hands, and his idea has received quite a lot of media attention. So it pleased him, but didn't surprise him, when he received the following email from…
Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2007.   Comments (8)

Big Dog Needs Home — Adela forwarded me this email, wanting to know if it's real or fake: Need a dog?????????? An actual ad from Colorado! FREE to an approved home. Excellent guard dog, loves other small-dog breeds. Answers to the name of Dolly. Will eat anything, owner cannot afford to feed her anymore, as there are no more thieves, murderers, rapists or molesters left in the neighborhood. Your help will be appreciated... The text, I assume, is fake. But the picture looks real. That's just a big dog.…
Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2006.   Comments (44)

Quick Links: Giant Gnome, etc. — Giant Gnome Maria Reidelbach's Gnome Chomsky is aiming for a Guinness record for tallest gnome, at a whopping 13 feet, 6 inches tall. Woman Finds Husband's Secret - Female Hormones Catherine Everett was surprised when she walked into the bathroom, only to find her husband admiring his new breasts. Babytoupee.com Coming soon, allegedly... Teenager Sends his Ex-company 5 Million Hoax Emails David Lennon was annoyed when he was fired from his job. So he sent 5 million hoax emails over…
Posted: Sun Sep 03, 2006.   Comments (6)

Email Warns of Inflammatory Breast Cancer — Status: True I warn in Hippo Eats Dwarf that "Unsolicited e-mail is not a reliable source of information—about anything" (Reality Rule 7.4). This is especially true of all those random health-related claims that circulate via email warning of flesh-eating bananas, poisonous perfume, toxic tampons, etc. So it's refreshing to find an example of a health-related email warning that's actually true. On May 7, Seattle's KOMO 4 News ran a segment about Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC), a…
Posted: Fri Jun 30, 2006.   Comments (3)

Don’t Use Cruise Control In The Rain — Status: HoaxHere's an email that's been circulating around: "A 36-year-old female had an accident several weeks ago and wrote off her vehicle. It was raining, though not excessively, when her car suddenly began to aquaplane and literally flew through the air. She was not seriously injured but very stunned at the sudden occurrence. When she explained what had happened to a highway patrolman, he told her she should never drive in the rain with cruise control activated. If your car begins…
Posted: Thu Apr 13, 2006.   Comments (25)

Motorcycle Flips Car — Status: Undetermined (but probably true) Alex Palmer forwarded me the following email which is circulating around, consisting of the following text and four pictures: Subject: Picture is worth a thousand words. The Honda rider was traveling at such a "very high speed", his reaction time was not sufficient enough to avoid this accident. Swedish Police estimate a speed of ~250 KM/h (155mph) before the bike hit the slow moving car side-on at an intersection. At that speed, they predicted…
Posted: Wed Apr 12, 2006.   Comments (28)

Rare Time Alignment Tomorrow — Status: Partially true, partially false An email is circulating around that makes the following claim: On Wednesday of this week (tomorrow), at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 a.m., the time and date will be 01:02:03 04/05/06. This will never happen again. That's just wrong. It probably won't happen again in any of our lifetimes, but it will happen again: in 2106, 2206, 2306, etc. And in Europe they write the date as day, month, year, so it won't be true over there. (But you…
Posted: Tue Apr 04, 2006.   Comments (9)

Carjacker Strategy: Place Paper On Your Rear Window — Status: Theoretically could happen (though there's no solid evidence it ever has) You may have received this email warning recently: Imagine: You walk across the parking lot, unlock your car and get inside. Then you lock all your doors, start the engine and shift into REVERSE. Habit! You look into the rear-view window to back out of your parking space and you notice a piece of paper, some sort of advertisement stuck to your rear window. So, you shift into PARK, unlock your doors and…
Posted: Thu Jan 26, 2006.   Comments (25)

The GTC Group Billion Dollar Trust — Status: Scam Here's an offer that has scam written all over it. The GTC Group (I'm kind of reluctant to link to their website, on the off chance that I'll help send a victim their way, but here it is) claims that if you agree to establish a trading account in their name (no money or fees required!), they will pay you, and 5000 other lucky volunteers, $24,000. They're circulating this claim via email. Here's how they explain the deal on their website: Our client is a family trust with…
Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2006.   Comments (23)

Potential new risk from mobile phones — Status: Partially true, partially fake Dipankar Mitra sent me this graphic which is circulating via email, warning of a "Potential new risk from mobile phones." He notes that it's accompanied by a caption that reads: Please use left ear while using cell (mobile), because if you use the right one it will affect brain directly. This is a true fact from Apollo medical team. Please forward to all your well wishers He asks, "Do let me know if it is real or hoax..." Well, the caption is…
Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2006.   Comments (8)

Email Warns of Hidden Camera in Tanning Salons — Status: Hoax A small British newspaper reports that tanning salons in New Eltham (which, I guess, is a suburb of London) are being targeted by a hoax email warning that hidden cameras are snapping photos of women as they tan. The email is accompanied by "dozens of revealing pictures of naked women using tanning beds, who are obviously unaware they are being photographed." (Two of the pictures are below.) The article continues: Angry women who use tanning beds are circulating the…
Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2005.   Comments (14)

The Palace of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan — Status: Email hoax (real pictures, fake caption)Bad: Falling for an email hoax. Worse: Using the hoax as the basis for your presentation to the local city planning commission, thereby displaying your gullibility to the entire public. As reported by the Muncie Star Press (no link), Don Love gets the award for doing the latter. He received an email containing a series of pictures of an opulent estate (shown below), with the caption: In case you're wondering where this hotel is, it isn't…
Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005.   Comments (69)

The Power of Makeup — Status: Viral email Pasted below is the content of an email that's going around. It's not a hoax, but it deals with issues of camouflage and deception. (It also reminds me of some Before and After pictures that I posted over a year ago.) The subject line of the email is: Never underestimate the power of makeup.
Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2005.   Comments (29)

Miss International’s Nanny Speech — Status: Probably a hoax Last month Precious Lara Quigaman, Miss Philippines, was crowned as the 2005 Miss International. An email now going around relates a story about her answer to a question asked during the final round: Precious Lara Quigaman, the Miss Philippines who took home the 2005 Miss International crown, was asked during the final round the following question: What do you say to the people of the world who have typecasted filipinos as nannies? Precious Lara replied, “I take…
Posted: Wed Oct 19, 2005.   Comments (8)

Suicide Jumper — Warning: Graphic. This is from an email going around: A police officer sent this to me. It is not for the faint of heart. If you have a weak stomach, then don't look at the URL. It is a picture of the demise of a suicide jumper taken shortly after he landed. It shows him with his insides now on the outside. You will see the look of horror on the faces of the bystanders. The faces of the bystanders is why I believe this is real.. http://hoaxes.org/images/Jumper.jpg
Posted: Fri Apr 22, 2005.   Comments (31)

Mushroom Licenses — Are you soon going to need a license to pick wild mushrooms in Illinois? That was what an email press release that circulated around last week stated. The email claimed that mushroom hunters would have to get a license from the same vendors that sell hunting and fishing licenses, and that revenue from the license sales would benefit biological and archaeological research in Illinois. The email prompted dozens of people to call the Illinois Natural Resources Department to complain. Today…
Posted: Tue Apr 05, 2005.   Comments (4)

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