Monday, November 2, 2009

Before You Forward--Snopes!

Sony is giving away free laptops. A mother is pleading for help to find her runaway daughter. A child is collecting bottle tops to raise money for cancer research in honor of his ailing mother. A computer virus is circulating that will burn your hard drive. And so on and so on.

We all receive forwarded (and forwarded and forwarded) emails that we feel we must pass on to friends so they can get a free laptop, help find the missing daughter, add to the bottle top collection, prevent a hard drive meltdown, etc. But do you realize that many of these emails that we forward are actually just hoaxes that fill up our inboxes unnecessarily?

One of my favorite listservs, 180TechTips, gives tips on how you can check out these "urban legends" before forwarding them to others. The site I use most often to verify email stories is Just do a search for the keywords in the email and see if the story is a hoax or fact. For example, I recently received an email stating that Sony is giving away free laptops to anyone who forwards the email to eight friends. (The email even said that the sender checked it out on Snopes!) Well, I checked it out on Snopes, too, and found the free laptop story to be a hoax.

So, before you forward your next urban legend, Snopes it!

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