The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Email Hoaxes
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…
Ground Control to Major Abacha Tunde
Posted by The Curator on Sun Apr 18, 2004
The Register has posted a great Nigerian Bank Scam email that it received. I get these emails all the time, and typically they come from people claiming to be either relatives of (or bankers of) deposed third world leaders who have huge amounts of money trapped in a bank account somewhere. They need your help to move the money out of the country. But this email that the Register received claims to come from a relative of a Nigerian astronaut trapped in space. He has a huge amount of back-pay accrued, and just needs your help to access the cash in order to get home. Very inventive. I wonder if the author of the letter actually expected to snare…
New Retirement Plan
Posted by The Curator on Wed Apr 14, 2004
My wife received this note in an email at work. Sadly, even though it's a joke, the advice it offers seems quite sensible: New Retirement Plan: If you had purchased $1000.00 of Nortel stock one year ago, it would now be worth $49.00. With Enron, you would have $16.50 left of the original $1,000.00. With WorldCom, you would have less than $5.00 left. But, if you had purchased $1,000.00 worth of Beer one year ago, drank all the beer, then turned in the cans for the aluminum recycling price, you would have $214.00. Based on the above, current investment advice is to drink heavily and recycle. It's called the 401-Keg Plan.
Google Launches Gmail
Posted by The Curator on Thu Apr 01, 2004
Google has announced a new email service called Gmail, that will give each user one gigabyte of free storage. Strangely, the press release is dated April 1, leading many to speculate that it's an April Fool's Day joke. Maybe it is, but if so it would seem a very odd one. Usually April Fool's Day jokes involve a certain minimum level of wit, and you should feel foolish for believing them once you find out they're a joke. But if someone were to tell me that Gmail is a joke, I wouldn't feel foolish. I'd just feel like Google had lied. There is some goofy language in the press release, but otherwise it just doesn't seem over-the-top…
More Spam on April 1st
Posted by The Curator on Tue Mar 30, 2004
Makers of network security software are warning that there may be an increase in spam leading up to April Fool's Day. "Spammers are expected to use subject lines such as "great joke," "free jokes," "prank," or "April fools" to entice users into opening attachments that carry viruses or objectionable content, potentially putting company networks at risk."
The Irish Virus hoax
Posted by The Curator on Sat Feb 21, 2004
This is just dumb. You receive an email with the following message: Greetings, You have just received the "IRISH VIRUS". As we don't have any programming experience, this Virus works on the honour system. Please delete all the files on your hard drive manually and forward this Virus to everyone on your mailing list. Thank you for your cooperation. I think I've seen other versions of it that attribute it to other ethnicities/social groups. There's more info about it over at symantec.com. (submitted by Bob Pagani).
Telephone Liars vs. Email Liars
Posted by The Curator on Sat Feb 14, 2004
A study reported on in the New Scientist has found that people lie more when they're talking on the telephone than they do when writing emails. The reason is that people are conscious of the fact that emails are saved and could come back to haunt them later, whereas telephone conversations don't tend to be recorded. Of course, this doesn't mean that more of the telephone calls we receive contain lies than the emails we receive. Just the opposite. Every day I'm flooded with emails that contain blatant lies, promising me instant riches and vast improvements in my physical prowess. This is because a small number of liars (spammers) can easily contact millions of people via email, whereas reaching…
Bank of England Email Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jan 01, 2004
During the past week many people received an email apparently from the Bank of England. It read: "Dear customer. The security of your personal and account information is extremely important to us. By practising good security habits, you can help us ensure that your private information is protected. Please install our special software that will remove all the keyloggers and backdoors from your computer." The email, of course, was a hoax. Thankfully, those who went ahead and installed the attached file suffered no harm because the file appears to do nothing. The media have been calling this an example of a phishing scam (phishing being a scam in which spammers try to fool people into divulging personal info…
Nigerian Navy Recruitment Scam
Posted by The Curator on Mon Dec 08, 2003
Just when we had all gotten used to those Nigerian email scams that fill up our inboxes every day, the Nigerian criminal class has gone back to the drawing board and come up with an entirely new way to con people out of money: it's the Nigerian Navy Recruitment Scam. Nigerian fraud artists are circulating fake documents that appear to be recruitment forms for the Nigerian Navy. I'm at a loss to see how exactly they make money out of this, but I'm sure they have a way. Meanwhile, the real Nigerian navy has announced that it will begin circulating real recruitment forms sometime this month.
Nigerian Email Conference
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 06, 2003
Single Black Female Looking for Love
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 30, 2003
An email has been making the rounds that appears to be a personal ad from a 'single black female' who's looking for love. Daisy, as the mystery female calls herself, promises that she loves to play and, if she finds the right man, will be willing to wait at home for him 'wearing only what nature gave me.' Thousands of men have called up the number listed in the email, only to find themselves connected to the Atlanta Humane Society. Daisy is, of course, a black Labrador. Here's the text of the email: SINGLE BLACK FEMALE seeks male companionship, ethnicity unimportant. I'm a very good-looking girl who LOVES to play. I love long walks in the woods, riding…
Don’t Get Back into Your Car While Refueling
Posted by The Curator on Sun Sep 14, 2003
There's an email going around warning people not to reenter their car while filling the tank at a gas station. Doing so might create a spark that will set the gas fumes on fire, causing a flash fire. Now this sounds like some kind of urban legend, but Mike Davis at CarConnection.com, who's done some research into the subject, warns that the danger is small but real.
Posted by The Curator on Mon Aug 18, 2003
Here's a silly email that's going around. Not a hoax. Just a joke: Inner Peace I'm passing this along to you as I consider you a valued friend. This worked for me and I think it may work for you. I have found Inner Peace. Recently I read an article that stated: The best way to achieve inner peace is to Finish Things You Have Started. So today I finished two large bags of potato chips, the last half of a lemon cream pie, a nearly full bottle of Jose Cuervo, a small box of Godiva Chocolates and I slapped the living shit out of someone I have never liked. I feel better than I have…