Urban Legends and Other Hoaxes

You’ve probably received emails warning you that if you use your cell phone while fueling your car that you’ll be blown up.  Or maybe that if you forward this email to 10 of your friends you will be given lots of money by Bill Gates.  Heard that there are bedbugs in new clothes that are made overseas?  How about the warning about a new virus making the rounds that not even the anti-virus people know about (really?) You get the idea.

I’m always amazed at the number of mails that I receive from friends and relatives that are not true.  Some say that they’ve been checked on Snopes.  I recently saw one that said “Snopes Approved.”  Wonder what that means?  Don’t believe them! I must admit that I sometimes fall for this stuff.  I just tell myself that it sounds true and I don’t have the time to look it up. So—what should you do if you receive one of these emails?

Check the truthfulness of the statements.  Use one (or more) of these sites:


One thing that I’ve decided is that if the email is written in bold-faced type and is in color and just screams for your attention, it’s probably not true.  Someone is going to a lot of trouble to get you to read it and figures if it looks sensational (think “National Enquirer”) then you’ll believe it.   Now delete the mail and don’t forward it to anyone else.  There!  You just stopped a rumor.