Hoax Emails | What Is The Definition of Internet Email Hoaxes?..
Hoax Emails As The Means for Spreading SPAM
Hoax emails are simply put … the equivalent of chain letters!
Hoax emails are usually sent as alerts for ‘new viruses’ or some other times just telling interesting (sometimes funny, sometimes sad, often scaring) stories of something for free, new laws, raising funds and much more…
All hoaxes have one thing in common: they are not true; in particular … email hoaxes especially!
These usually serve as a means to collect email addresses from the unsuspecting victims… further on, adding the names and emails to SPAMMING lists, eventually sold over the Internet to email spammers.
How To Check Out A Hoax Email
Here’s how it happens…
- The ‘originator’ comes up with a story that appeals highly to human emotions, like FEAR, PITY, etc…
- They send it to a list of previously proven ‘forwarders’ (harvested maybe from another email hoax list)
- The ‘forwarders’ get the hoax email in their Inbox, open it regardless of the dangers and start reading; often times they get ‘touched’ by the story and decide to share it with their friends and… why not?… even all their email contacts.
- The ‘forwarders’ then just add their own people to the already sizable bunch of emails there (*please note that usually they come in plain sight, in the To field, for everybody to see (Bye-Bye privacy!) and hit the forward button.
- At some moment in time, the hoax email comes back, eventually, to the ‘originator’ who then grabs all the added emails and compiles a new fresh list of people to be sent hoaxes and after that, more SPAM email.
So, first thing to be done if you want to learn how to check out a hoax email is to look for the above signs.
- Do you see the above pattern?
- Is the ‘originator’ signed up somewhere, as a real person that could be contacted offline?
(phone number, snail mail address, etc?..)
- Look for the telltale phrase – “Forward this to everyone you know!”
Beware! The more urgent their plea is, the more suspect the message.
- Also be in the look for the usual “This is NOT a hoax” or sometimes “This is NOT an urban legend” Most obviously by now … it means exactly the opposite.
- Beware of the internet hoaxes that claim to be backed by reputable organizations, governmental agencies (see for example the FBI email hoax) and such.
Remember, although these email hoaxes try to attribute the text to ‘legitimate’ sources, or many times implying that powerful corporate or especially government agencies have kept that information from you … think with your own mind (don’t fall for the “Men In Black” craze)
Bottom line is this: What smells like a rotten egg … usually IS a rotten egg!
There are very few examples of chain letters that have proven to be real; for instance, the case of the missing student Eddie Gibson. But press titles were screaming at the time though: “Missing gap year student”
Email Hoax List | A non-exhaustive list of NOT all the most known Hoax Emails
Some very well known world wide spread email hoaxes have to do with:
- various email viruses alerts,
- fake Microsoft messages,
- celebrities related hoaxes
(like the Michael Jackson death video hoax),
- the global warming hoax,
- the balloon boy hoax,
- the perfume hoax,
- the New York Zoo hoax,
- the Moon landing hoax,
The above hoax emails list is not exhaustive by far… nor did I intend to make it the list of all hoax emails either. You may always read more about how to check out a hoax and related stuff on Wikipedia if you want.
My point was this, though:
Don’t Forward Hoax Emails!
This Is Basic Email Etiquette
You will, for once…
- irritate those that do not spot the hoax and
- they will probably pass it on, causing more irritation (and you help the SPAM grow this way, too!)
…while those that identify the email hoax will most likely be either pissed OR sometimes kind enough to reply (or better) send you a new message, to let you know that you have fallen to an urban legend hoax.
And don’t treat April Fool’s Day Pranks as Internet Email Hoaxes either…
Now… if you had such experiences that you’d like to share … when you had either fallen for a hoax, or spotted one (tell us how) OR if you’d like to see a particular email hoax added to the above list of email hoaxes … please leave a comment below and let all my readers vote for its popularity (use the Like button, folks!)
The list of all known email hoaxes should contain your own experience with hoax emails, don’t you think?