Do you know how to protect yourself and your family from an e-mail hoax? Some hoaxes are time wasters that clutter your inbox, while others are more dangerous hoaxes that may cost you money or compromise your safety. If you missed it, you might want to check out Identifying E-Mail Hoaxes.
Here are some ways to snoop out the phony stuff.
When in doubt, delete it out.
If you get an e-mail from someone you don’t recognize, the easiest thing to do is to simply delete it. You can also create filters in your e-mail program that only let in e-mail from a list of e-mail addresses that you provide. This way, you won’t even be bothered by anything that could be a hoax.
Look it up.
But what if the suspected hoax is coming from someone that you know? Many of us inadvertently forward e-mail hoaxes, thinking that they are valid. But there is a great resource for looking up these e-mail stories. Go to Snopes.com and search by keyword. Snopes provides detailed information about all of the various e-mail and Internet hoaxes, including origins and related or similar hoaxes. Sometimes a hoax can be partially true, or true only in some areas. They check out everything pretty thoroughly, so you can be confident in what they say.
Recognize common themes and current hoaxes.
Visit Snopes.com to see a list of the 15 “hottest” urban legends or e-mail hoaxes currently circulating. You can familiarize yourself with them to be forewarned. Some are pretty good for entertainment value, too.
Generally with these sort of hoaxes, you’ll find a lack of specific information, a statement about how it is a true story, and some sort of moral warning or request for money. Most of these hoaxes prey on our fears and have some sort of shock value.
Mary Ann Romans writes about everything related to saving money in the Frugal Blog, technology in the Computing Blog, and creating a home in the Home Blog. You can read more of her articles by clicking here.