PDQ Library:  Internet Hoaxes

Check those pesky warnings and offers that arrive in your email (and postal mail and by phone too). The "Good Times Virus" is actually a HOAX that has circulated for years. Your computer can becomes infected when you open an email attachment or link containing the computer virus.

Net hoaxes and urban legends are a fact of net life, especially the many email forwarding hoaxes. Please ignore anything that says "forward an email to all of your friends." These chain letters are universally hated! Check stories before you forward them blindly to your friends (see links below).

If it's too good to be true - IT IS! Email scams are bilking people out of their cash in many of the same ways that telephone or door-to-door operators work. The latest scam is email fraud known as "phishing" is being exploited by cybercrooks. More about "phishing"...

Fake cashier checks and money orders are common, especially from foreign banks." Banks will appear to cash them, but are only initiating the process. When the fake fails to "clear" many weeks later, the bank will hold you responsible. You won't get your money and you also will be charged a "fee" (banks actually charge YOU a fee for depositing a bad check written on another bank).

The overpayment scam is commonly attempted when you are selling anything online. A person wants to buy your item, offering to use a cashier’s check, personal check or corporate check to pay at full price. The so-called buyer comes up with a reason for writing the check for more than the purchase price, and asks you to wire back the difference after you deposit the You deposit the check and wire the funds back to the “buyer.” When the check bounces, you are out the entire amount.

Porn Scam - visitors to a porn site downloaded a photo viewer, resulting in a large phone bill. If you think you are being scammed, call Canadian PhoneBusters toll-free at 1-888-495-8501 or your local police's non-emergency number.

Selling Scams - Avoiding scams and fraud (craiglist.org)

Fraud Reporting - Report mass marketing fraud, advance fee fraud (e.g., West African letters), Internet fraud, identification theft complaints and requests for money.

Check hoaxes and warnings here:

  1. US-CERT (U.S. Computer Emergency Team)
  2. Snopes.com - check on hoax stories about stolen kidneys or HIV-infected pay phones before sharing them with friends. Check Snopes for Scams.
  3. PolitiFact.com - "Truth-o-Meter" on many subjects
  4. FactCheck.org - news, politics
  5. Vmyths.com - computer virus myths, hoaxes, urban legends
  6. Urbanlegends.about.com
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