Adventures in Genealogy Adventures in Genealogy

Internet Hoaxes

Or "Rednecks, Walt Disney, Jr., & Email Scams"

by Uncle Hiram

I know that sometimes I come across as a little dense but I try my best not to prove I am a fool. (Stop Laughing)

A couple of days back I was hanging out in About.com chat rooms trying to scrounge up some ideals for columns and asked if they had any suggestions. The Genealogy Guide (Ms Kimberly) and her loyal henchwoman (Ms Sharon) suggested I do columns on virus' and Internet Hoaxes.

So I sat myself down and did a little online research into the subject of Internet Hoaxes. Now I know you are probably asking what in the world does this have to do with our mutual obsession, but it does affect all of us that spend a lot of time in the Cyber Universe.

We have all gotten those emails with 25 forwards that tell us about some poor kid in Armadillo Shell, New Mexico that is dying of some exotic disease who is collecting online postcards. I hate to rain on anyone's parade but their ain't no kid, there is just a scam to collect valid email addresses that the perpetrator can send get rich quick emails too.

Another very popular one states that Bill Gates and Walt Disney Jr. are testing a new email tracking program and if you forward the email to all your friends you can either win a thousand dollars or a lifetime pass to Disney World. The fact is that Mr. Gate (Don't we all wish we could just have the interest on his money for one day) has disavowed this scam and there is no Walt Disney, Jr.. It's just another scheme to collect valid addresses.

Most of these Internet Hoaxes are fairly harmless but not all of them. A couple of them pop to mind. For instance for years Proctor and Gamble has been fighting the rumor that their President appeared on the Donahue Show and stated he was a member of the Church of Satan and all their profits went to that church. The rumor was originally started by an unscrupulous seller of a well known multi level marketing soap product. Donahue has stated it never happened, the CEO of P&G stated it didn't happen, but the rumor still makes the rounds on the Internet. Just for the record, it ain't true.

Another one that made the rounds recently reported that President Bush (the New one) has the lowest IQ of any of our Presidents. The report is supposedly from the "Prestigious" Lovenstein Institute of Scranton, PA. After reviewing their results the first thing that leaps out at you is that all the Democrat Presidents were smarter than the Republicans. If you investigate a little deeper you discover that there is NO Lovenstein Institute or DR Werner R. Lovenstein that supposedly heads up the study. It's rather obvious that this scam is merely trying to slander our President.

The long and short of it is, if you get email about aliens landing or people having livers stolen or some other thing that sounds either bizarre or too good to be true -- ignore it. Delete it. Don't forward it.

I would like to recommend a couple of sites that explore the subject more thoroughly than I can.

  1. http://www.hoaxinfo.com/
  2. http://urbanlegends.about.com/culture/urbanlegends/

- Adios and Keep Smiling!

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About the Author
"I am not rich or famous so I don't have a pre-prepared Bio written by some high paid ghost rider. So I will just give Yall the relevant facts."

- Bill Hocutt (Uncle Hiram)

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