†† Online Hoaxes
When in Doubt, Donít Send It OutÖ
Sometimes email hoaxes are sent out just to see how far the email will go. Other purposes include; harassing another person, using a pyramid scheme to try and get money, or to damage another personís or organizationís reputation.
The first virus hoax started in 1988, claiming that the person sending the email had downloaded it from a bulletin board.
You can commonly recognize hoaxes, often they use technical sounding language or hope to insinuate credibility by association. Beware of emails encouraging you to forward the message to everyone you know. Most of the hoaxes prey on our need to help others, some have been started by spammers hoping to gather email addresses.
Sympathy hoaxes describe a terrible incident or illness that has occurred, asking us to send money and pass the email on. The problem is, there is no way to stop the emails once the problem has been resolved.
Threat hoaxes usually advise you not to open messages with certain titles because they contain a virus. You can check the current list of virus hoaxes on the websites of most anti-virus companies. The Symantec anti-virus website (www.symantec.com/avcenter/) lists the latest viruses and security warnings. Hoax.com is also a good resource, as well as urbanlegends.com. It is best not to circulate the email without first checking with an authoritative source. If you suspect you have received an email hoax the best course of action is to delete it.