Jan E. Beran, Attorney at Law

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Urban ledgends, Internet hoaxes, and Net Lore

It seems like every day I get emails concerning some fantastic offer, dire situation or computer virus. Often these turn out to be rumors, false alarms or bogus warnings. Before you forward me or any of your email buddies any of these web warnings, check them out first. There are a number of sites that can be useful in checking them out. My personal favorite are the sites at About.com. You can also try Snopes.
I have taken the Boulder Pledge, and you should too. The Department of Energy maintains the CIAC which you should first consult when tempted to forward an email. In particular you should read the information about the risks and cost of hoaxes.
There is also a wealth of information, which could be better organized, but very informative covering all kinds of subjects, including MLMs and illegal pyramids, misuse of the internet, chain mail/email at Chain-letters. Break The Chain also has information about well wishing chain letters. See also Scambusters.
Please forward a link to this page (http://www.beranlaw.com/links/hoaxes.htm) to the person who sent you the warning, unbelievable offer, or other (we hope) well intentioned notice.

Please read the article about "Net misinformation" titled Hoax Busters. About.com has a good article to help you detect real from hoax.

To verify whether or not something is a hoax or real either go to Urbanlegends' alphabetical listing or just type in some of the search information into the search box. Just as with all journalism, you need to check out the source, another group helping us on that is Truth or Fiction.

If this were junk snail mail or a telemarketer calling at supper time, how would you feel about receiving these emails? Please be ecourteous to all your email buddies.

Here are some of the emails I've received which I believe are either factual but blown out of proportion, rumors, hoaxes, unverified facts, or otherwise bad netiquette.

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