The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Email Hoaxes
Posted by The Curator on Wed Nov 03, 2004
Here's a strange email hoax that reportedly is spreading around India: Tonight a rectoscalar wave is passing at 10.25 pm, Indian Standard Time.... This causes damage in mobiles and computers..... So switch off your mobiles and computers at the specified time... This has been published in todays The Hindu paper also.... Keep fwd this message to your friends and loved ones..... Is there even such a thing as a rectoscalar wave? I did a google search and didn't pull up anything. Sure hope that wave doesn't reach America. Or maybe it already did. Maybe that's what caused those unfortunate election results.
Safe and Secure
Posted by The Curator on Fri Oct 08, 2004
Here's an amusing email that's making the rounds: I want to thank all of you! To all my friends and family, Thank you for making me safe, secure, blessed, and wealthy by sending me your chain letters over the last year. Because of your concern: I no longer drink Coca Cola because it can remove toilet stains. I no longer drink Pepsi or Dr Pepper since the people who make these products are atheists who refuse to put "Under God" on their cans. I no longer drink anything out of a can because I will get sick from the rat feces and urine. I no longer use Saran wrap…
Simpsons House Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Mon Oct 04, 2004
According to News.com.au an email has been circulating around Australia claiming that the town of South Morang has built a replica of the house where the Simpsons live. On the cartoon, Homer and Marge live on 742 Evergreen Terrace, and South Morang does have an Evergreen Drive. Apparently many Simpsons' fans have been spotted driving aimlessly around South Morang searching for the house. Unfortunately for these fans, the replica house doesn't exist. The email is a hoax. But if you're a Simpsons fan the place you should actually visit is Portland, Oregon, the boyhood home of Matt Groening, whose streets apparently inspired the names of many Simpsons characters.
Hoax and Virus Card Game
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 30, 2004
Computer Beast is the name of the first ever card game based on computer viruses, worms, and hoaxes. I'm not quite sure how you play, but it involves cards that depict famous viruses such as the Sasser virus, or hoaxes such as Bonsai Kitten or the Bill Gates Fortune hoax. The game has been out in Germany for a while, but the English version is set to debut later this year. I'll definitely have to try to get my hands on one of these.
Irish Personal Ads
Posted by The Curator on Tue Aug 17, 2004
A collection of Irish personal ads, supposedly culled from the Dublin News, is doing the email rounds. They're in the genre of Brutally Honest Personal Ads (I've reported on examples of this genre before). In this case, I'm guessing that the ads, if they really did appear in the Dublin News, were meant to be tongue-in-cheek (though I haven't seen the paper, so I can't really tell). But whatever the case may be, they're definitely quite funny. Here they are: Heavy drinker, 35, Cork area. Seeks gorgeous sex addict interested in a man who loves his pints, cigarettes, Glasgow Celtic Football Club and starting fights on Patrick Street at three…
Test Your Phishing IQ
Posted by The Curator on Mon Aug 02, 2004
PayPal Class Action Suit
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jul 29, 2004
A study by an anti-spam firm called MailFrontier found that, on average, 28% of computer users are fooled by email scams. But intriguingly, 20% of users misidentify legitimate emails from companies such as PayPal as scams. This becomes relevant because a lot of people recently received an email informing them of the possibility of joining a class-action suit against PayPal (I got one of these emails in my inbox this morning). The suit is real. The email is legitimate. But quite a few people assumed that it was just another scam and deleted it. John Dvorak, at PC Magazine, muses that the email "almost looks like it has been made to look like a…
Origin of the Bill Gates Email Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jun 30, 2004
Displaying some very impressive sleuthing skills, Jonathon Keats has apparently solved the mystery of the origin of the ubiquitous Bill-Gates-will-pay-you-to-forward-this-email hoax. He writes about it in an article in Wired. He traced the origin of the hoax back to November 18, 1997 when Iowa State student Bryan Mack was sitting in a campus computer lab and created the first version of the email as a joke that he sent to a friend sitting beside him. It read: "My name is Bill Gates. I have just written up an email-tracing program that traces everyone to whom this message is forwarded to. I am experimenting with this and…
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jun 10, 2004
Here's the latest hoax warning that's going around via email. Actually, it may be quite old, but I've only come across it recently. So here it is: I hate those hoax warnings, but this one is important! Send this warning to everyone on your e-mail list. If someone comes to your front door saying they are conducting a survey and asks you to take your clothes off, do not do it.!!! This is a scam; they only want to see you naked. I wish I'd gotten this yesterday. I feel so stupid and cheap now.....
Terror Email Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jun 10, 2004
A lot of people in New York have been getting an email warning them not to ride the subways this Friday because terrorists may be planning a big attack. It's your typical I-heard-it-from-a-friend-of-a-friend nonsense, laced with a liberal helping of numerology (Friday being 6/11, WTC attack 9/11, Madrid bombing 3/11), plus bogus information (the city hasn't ordered a couple thousand extra body bags). You can read the full email over at Gawker. The New York City Police insist that they have no knowledge of an impending attack.
Phishing Scam Example
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jun 04, 2004
A Phishing scam is... well, I'll just let the webopedia define it because I'm too lazy to write a definition myself. Phishing is "the act of sending an e-mail to a user falsely claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft. The e-mail directs the user to visit a Web site where they are asked to update personal information, such as passwords and credit card, social security, and bank account numbers, that the legitimate organization already has. The Web site, however, is bogus and set up only to steal the user’s information." Here's a very good example of a…
UPS Uniform Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Thu May 20, 2004
Mark wrote to let me know that the UPS Uniform Email Hoax is making the rounds again (the corporate security at his office thoughtfully forwarded it to everyone he works with). This hoax is an old one, going back almost two years. Basically the email claims that terrorists managed to purchase $32,000 worth of UPS uniforms on eBay, so everyone should have their eyes out for phony UPS employees delivering packages. The latest version of the message has the fake signature of a Homeland Security Official appended to the bottom of it, making it seem even more authentic. The reality is that no such huge sale of UPS uniforms ever took place,…
Strunkenwhite or Pluperfect Virus Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Thu May 13, 2004
Swiffer Wet Jet Pet Rumor
Posted by The Curator on Mon May 10, 2004
Teresa wrote in to ask about the truth of that email rumor going around alleging that the Swiffer Wet Jet cleaning fluid contains antifreeze and can be fatal to pets (you can read the full text of that email rumor here). Swiffer itself addresses this rumor on its corporate website, so it can be pretty easily debunked. It's totally false. But since I'm on the subject of Swiffers, I've got to note something about them that I find incredibly annoying... how you can only use Swiffer brand cleaning fluid with the Wet Jet. And, of course, the Swiffer brand fluid ain't cheap. Out of frustration, I ended up…
Will the real Ella Schultz please stand up?
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 26, 2004
Ella Schultz, an elderly black woman living in Kentwood, Michigan, is quite the emailer. Over the past year she's been shooting off emails to teachers, school administrators, and even a few journalists. But it turns out that Ella isn't actually real. The person actually sending those emails was Edward Kape, a Kentwood Board of Education member (who has now resigned). Or at least, he was one of the people using 'Ella Schultz' as their nom de plume. He insists there were others, though he's not naming any names. The tip off for those receiving the emails should have been that they came from Yahoo and Hotmail accounts. Whenever I receive an email from someone I don't know who's…