“ Hoax-Slayer is dedicated to debunking email hoaxes, thwarting Internet scammers, combating spam, and educating web users about email and Internet security issues. Hoax-Slayer allows Internet users to check the veracity of common email hoaxes and aims to counteract criminal activity by publishing information about common types of Internet scams. Hoax-Slayer also includes anti-spam tips, computer and email security information, articles about true email forwards, and much more. New articles are added to the Hoax-Slayer website every week. „
How often have you received an email from a friend wising you up on the latest Internet scam. I had one this morning, passed to me by my beloved, from a colleague of hers who had herself received it from God knows where. It warned you never to hand back to Reception the credit card sized electronic card key used to enable you to enter your hotel room because it [supposedly] contained all your personal details, including those relating to the credit card you had offered for use to pay your bill!
Now, whenever I receive an email like this or, more recently, a mail in my Facebook Inbox, I tend to treat its contents with extreme scepticism. Favourite ones I seem to receive frequently are those warning not to accept so-and-so as a Friend because merely opening an email from them will wreak all sorts of havoc on my computer. Is this the same guy under different names or a whole bunch of different ones who seem, magically, to have discovered the same scam?
There are millions out there and there is just a remote possibility that one in one hundred thousand is genuine, but how to tell which is the Urban Myth and which deserves further investigation? Fortunately there are a couple of Ozzy guys who have made it there life's work to investigate these hoaxes, for most are, and to expose which are genuine and which are not. They run a website dedicated to this worthy service to the community, called Hoax-Slayer.
The Home Page has a large table in the middle of the screen, containing a load of categories of hoaxes, from which you can select the one that interests you. Examples are: Bogus Warnings; Email Petitions and Protests; Nigerian Scams; Computer Security and Charity Hoaxes. These and other links are also listed down the left-hand side of the page.
Selecting any of these links takes you to a page dedicated to hoaxes of this type. Selecting each produces details of the original communication and the analysis done of its veracity by the guys. Often you will find that the communication in question is just the latest manifestation of a previous scam where just the names have been changed.
The explanation and findings of the guys is often much more entertaining than the original communication on which they are focussed. Certainly, once you have read what it is all about you have to ask yourself how anyone could seriously consider the communication to be genuine. Some, though, are very plausible but others, you just have to say, "Oh, come on, who do you think you're fooling?"
I suppose that the only real problem with these sites, no matter how valuable a public service they are providing, is that it does tend to make you a little cynical whenever you receive a communication of this type. Still, even if you don't visit the Hoax Slayer website to check it out first, best you delete it completely and don't accept the invitation to send it on to everyone of your 567 Facebook friends and email address book entries.
Better still though, just go along to the Hoax Slayer website and have a good laugh at what you find there. If you're on Facebook, they even have a Fan Page!