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Issue 45 - Hoax-Slayer Newsletter

Issue 45: 18th November, 2004

This month in Hoax-Slayer:
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Hoax-Slayer is a Free Monthly Web-Based Newsletter brought to you by Brett Christensen

The Hoax-Slayer Newsletter keeps you informed about the latest email hoaxes and current Internet scams. Hoax-Slayer also features anti-spam tips, computer security information, pertinent articles and more.

As soon as the newsletter is published each month, subscribers are sent a notification email with a direct link to the latest issue. The Hoax-Slayer Newsletter is absolutely free and you can easily unsubscribe at any time either by following a link in the notification email or visiting the Hoax-Slayer Unsubscribe page.

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Hoax-Slayer Newsletter is Going Monthly

Esteemed Subscribers,

After a lot of thought, I have decided to publish the Hoax-Slayer Newsletter on a monthly rather than a weekly basis. This new delivery schedule will allow me more time to add new material to the Hoax-Slayer website as well as prepare articles for the newsletter.

Although editions of the newsletter will not be so frequent, monthly issues will contain a signficantly greater number of articles.

Between issues, you can easily keep yourself informed about new hoaxes and scams by visiting the Hoax-Slayer Latest Information page.

Currently, the Hoax-Slayer website is undergoing a significant overhaul and I will also be adding a lot of new pages. Thus, any time saved because of the newsletter schedule change will be put to good use (grin).

So, the next issue of the Newsletter should cross your inbox in mid December, not too long before the bloke in the red suit turns up.

Best wishes, and thank-you for your continued support of Hoax-Slayer.

Regards,
Brett



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Long Island Terror Email Hoax

An email has been circulating that claims that a terrorist attack on Long Island will occur on the 26th November, supposedly involving chemical weapons. However, there is no evidence to support the claims made in the email and authorities have dismissed it as a hoax.

It is believed that the information in the email was derived from an anti-terrorist training exercise conducted by the volunteer ambulance corps and law enforcement agencies. The drill involved a scenario in which malls were attacked with chemical weapons. The email claims that police apprehended a "man of Middle Eastern descent" for taking photographs of an ambulance company. However, police have denied that such an arrest occurred.

Although the original email may have been sent as a result of a genuine misunderstanding, or as a sick joke, it is most likely just an attempt to spread fear and alarm. Since the WTC attack, there have been several false terrorist attack "warnings" circulated via email. In a world plagued by the spectre of terrorism, perpetrating a hoax like this one is particularly abhorrent.

This email should be deleted rather than forwarded.

I am sending this email to the Red Cross to inquire. Nonetheless, please read it and try and shop around Nov. 26, not THE 26th. Her email is not a "forward to 10 people" It is personally written and personally sent to her friends based on facts she is personally aware of.

Hello all,

Some information has come to me. It has not been released to the general public, but it's something we all need to be aware of.

A couple of weeks ago someone was seen taking photos of my ambulance company in Bay Shore. This same person was seen outside Exchange Ambulance in Islip doing the same. The police were notified and the person was apprehended outside Southside hospital, again taking photos.

He is a man of Middle Eastern descent and is being held for investigation. It seems that he was gathering information about our response capabilities in a mass casualty attack. The NY Field Office of the FBI held a meeting at Bay Shore Fire Department for officials from the local PD, EMS and FD's. They have information from this man and from their own intelligence that a mass attack is planned for Long Island.

On Black Friday (November 26) 4 Long Island Malls are supposed to be hit simultaneously with chemical weapons. This would be the first time a chemical weapon is used in the United States. Forces from NYC and Washington DC would be diverted to aid here on Long Island leaving these areas vulnerable. A second attack would take place in these areas. Ever since 9/11 EMS has undergone extensive training on how to deal with a terrorist attack and to think it could really happen here is terrifying.

There is also concern about car bombings as a large number of vehicles have gone missing in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Ambulances, taxi's,commercial vans and airport limos have been reported stolen. These vehicles look perfectly innocent driving through our neighborhoods and no one would think twice about seeing them.

This is not an internet scam. The officers at my department were at this meeting and I saw the minutes myself. I figure it's pretty serious if the FBI made an appearance to share what they know.

I'm not sure why this isn't being released to the public. I can only assume that if this got out, no one would shop and it would be devastating to our economy.

I do not want to spread panic, only information. Take from this what you will, but I needed to let you all know. I love you all and I felt I needed to share this with you. I know it's hard to believe. I can't believe that an Al Qaeda operative was only a few blocks from my home.



Discuss This Story

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Cheque Scam Targets Internet Sellers

I regularly received submissions regarding a widespread cheque scam that targets Internet sellers. Those targeted are usually attempting to sell fairly high priced items such as cars, boats, computer equipment or even animals via the Internet.

The central element of this fraud is the submission of a cheque for substantially more than the listed price. Typically, an overpayment cheque scam works like this:


To protect yourself against this sort of scam, *never* agree to a deal in which the payer wishes to issue an amount for more than the agreed price and expects you to reimburse the balance. The scammers use a variety of excuses to explain the overpayment, but any such excuse should be treated with the utmost suspicion.

The examples below should help to illustrate how these scammers operate.

Example 1:
thanks for the quick response am okay with price,and because am far away from united states so don't worry about the shipment i have shipping agent that carter for my pick up any where in the world. i will instruct my client to send you a cashier's cheque of (5000) so what you have to do immediatley the check gets to you just deduct the funds for the puppies($500) and send the excess money ($4500) to my shipping agent so that they can be able to pick the puppies up from your destination and which will also covers the shipping fees of my other consignments in the state. so if this is okay by you, you can forward your full name, address and cell phone number. expecting your response back.


Example 2:
Thanks for your mail,I am really interested in the (plymouth),Fine i will pay $200 for it,Please i will want to indicate my mode of payment to you since i am not in the United States at the moment and there is a Company in the United States that is indebted to me in the amount of $3,500,So i will want to really seek your Assistance at this point,That i will want you to forward to me the the following informations below that i will need to forward to the Company indebted to me so that they can make out the payment directly to you and after you have cashed it in your bank,You will have the excess amount on the payment sent to my International Shipping agent via WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER ,All charges you are to pay at the western union office when sending the excess amount of $3,300 should be deducted from my balance,So you don't have to bother yourself about that, The reason for this is that,The Company indebted to me say they cannot make out the payment in two installment except once, And since i am purchasing your (plymouth) from you at this time,I will want to really be sure that my funds will be safe in your hands as i will want to entrust my money unto your care,So inorder for us to complete the purchase of the (plymouth) now,I will want you to get back to me with the following informations inorder for me to forward it to the Company indebted to me inorder for them to make out the payment in your name and send it to you ithout any furtherdelay,

The following informations that i will require from you are as follows,
1] YOUR FULL NAME TO BE WRITTEN ON THE CHECK,
2] YOUR DIRECT HOUSE ADDRESS WHERE YOU WILL WANT THE PAYMENT TO BE SENT TO,
3] YOUR DIRECT CELL PHONE NUMBER THAT YOU CAN BE REACHED AT ANYTIME OF THE DAY SO THAT I CAN GIVE YOU A CALL SO THAT I CAN EXPLAIN TO YOU BETTER,
Upon receipt of this informations i have just requested from you,I will immediately forward it to the Company indebted to me to make out the payment in your name and send it to you immediately,I will be awaiting your response as soon as you get this mail,Do confirm this mail and get back to me as soon as possible.
Thanks



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New Virus Information Page

In view of the newsletter delivery change, I have discontinued the "Weekly Virus Wrap-up" section in favour of a more comprehensive Virus Information page on the Hoax-Slayer website that will be available to you 24/7. This page should be a more effective method of keeping readers and site visitors informed about current virus threats. The page includes live feeds from Symantec Security Response that are updated in real time as well as other pertinent virus information and resources. I will be uploading a lot more virus related information to this page in the near future.

You can access the Virus Information page via the link below:
Virus Information

This link will be included on the top and bottom of every issue to make it easy for you to stay informed about current virus threats. You might also like to bookmark the page for easy reference.

Discuss This Story

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Bogus MADD Petition

Although the underlying message contained in this email petition is important, the petition itself is bogus. MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) is a real organization that does valuable work in the ongoing battle against drunk driving and its often horrific consequences.

However, MADD did not sponsor or endorse this petition. "Signing" this bogus petition and sending it on to others is pointless and will do nothing more than waste bandwidth and clutter inboxes. In fact, email-based petitions are virtually worthless because politicians or anyone else in authority will not take them seriously. Often the long list of names on these petitions will never even arrive at their intended destination. Besides, a determined individual could easily falsify the "results" of an email petition by adding hundreds or thousands of names. These names might be real and used without permission or simply made up. In a typical email petition, there is no viable way of checking the validity of names on the list. Thus, the validity of an email petition is highly questionable even if it was actually launched by a real organization rather than a desktop activist with an axe to grind.

MADD has denied any involvement with this petition via the FAQ section of its website. The site notes:
The petition circulating via e-mail accompanied with the poem titled "I Went to a Party Mom" did not originate with nor is it endorsed by MADD.

While the petition you received probably began with good intentions, MADD did not initiate the campaign. Some variations of the e-mail use language that we feel to be inappropriate. Moreover, the e-mail asks you to participate in a petition, which does little to advance the fight against drunk driving.
Those who sign and send this petition show that they are caring people who would like to help in the fight against drunk driving. However, signing the petition is a waste of time. A much more valuable contribution would be to become actively involved with MADD or another anti-drunk driving organization.

You can find out more about MADD via the organization's website.

It is unclear who actually wrote the poem included in the above petition. The poem has circulated - both as part of the above MADD petition and as a standalone piece - for at least a decade.

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References
Are Email Petitions Useful?
MADD FAQ
MADD Home

WENT TO A PARTY, MOM. . .

* Please read all the way to the bottom and sign your name *

I went to a party,
And remembered what you said.
You told me not to drink, Mom
So I had a sprite instead.

I felt proud of myself,
The way you said I would,
That I didn't drink and drive,
Though some friends said I should.

I made a healthy choice,
And your advice to me was right,
The party finally ended,
And the kids drove out of sight.

I got into my car,
Sure to get home in one piece,
I never knew what was coming, Mom
Something I expected least.

Now I'm lying on the pavement,
And I hear the policeman say,
The kid that caused this wreck was drunk, Mom,
his voice seems far away.

My own blood's all around me,
As I try hard not to cry.
I can hear the paramedic say,
This girl is going to die.

I'm sure the guy had no idea,
While he was flying high,
Because he chose to drink and drive,
Now I would have to die.

So why do people do it, Mom
Knowing that it ruins lives?
And now the pain is cutting me,
Like a hundred stabbing knives.

Tell sister not to be afraid, Mom
Tell daddy to be brave,
And when I go to heaven,
"Daddy's Girl" is on my grave.
Someone should have taught him,
That it's wrong to drink and drive.
Maybe if his parents had,
I'd still be alive.

My breath is getting shorter, Mom
I'm getting really scared.
These are my final moments,
And I'm so unprepared.

I wish that you could hold me Mom,
As I lie here and die.
I wish that I could say, "I love you, Mom!"
So I love you and good-bye.

MADD IS HOPING TO GET 5,000 SIGNATURES ON THIS, THEN PASS IT ON TO PRESIDENT BUSH. PLEASE SIGN. When this petition has reached 5,000, please return it to:

[CONTACT INFORMATION for MADD REMOVED]

If you receive this petition and do nothing but delete it, your selfishness knows no bounds. Signing is such a small effort to make. After you have read the poem, please add your name at the bottom. And never forget, DON'T EVER DRINK AND DRIVE, not even once, thinking that it won't matter. IT DEFINITELY WILL MATTER!!!

How to set it up:

1. Copy the entire e-mail.

2. Paste it into a new e-mail.

3. SIGN YOUR NAME AT THE BOTTOM.

4. Then send it to everyone you know.

THE NAMES:

[OVER 1000 NAMES REMOVED]






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Tip of the Week: Creating Screenshots

A picture tells a thousand words they say, and sending or printing a screenshot of an application in action can often be of great assistance if you are seeking technical help, teaching someone how to perform a particular task or simply recommending the program to a friend.

Windows has a built-in function that allows you to easily create screenshots of any open Window, including the desktop.

To create a screenshot:

1. With the desired application open, hit the Print Screen key. On most keyboards, the Print Screen key is located on the upper right above the "Insert" key. On some keyboards, tt may be labelled "prt scr" rather than "Print Screen". Pressing the Print Screen key should store a copy of the current computer screen on the Windows Clipboard.

2. You can then paste the image into an image program such as MS Paint, manipulate it as desired, and save it to your hard drive for future reference. You can also paste it to other compatible programs such as MS Word, Power Point and others.

3. Now you will be able to view this frozen moment in your computer's history any time you like as well as print it, upload it to a web page or email it as required. (You may need to reduce the image file size before uploading it to a website or emailing it.)

To create a screenshot of just the active Window rather than the entire computer screen, press "Alt + Print Screen" rather than just "Print Screen".

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Feedback from Readers and Site Visitors

If you receive an email that you suspect is a hoax or scam, I'd appreciate it if you would send me a copy.

The links below point to the Hoax-Slayer website articles that received the most visitors over the last week:

1. Money from Microsoft Giveaway Hoax

2. William Hung Is Not Dead

3. Glade PlugIns Fire Hazard Hoax

4. Email Lottery Scams - International Lottery Scam Information

5. Tommy Hilfiger Racist Comments Hoax


Site statistics and submissions indicate that the ubiquitous Money from Microsoft Hoax is enjoying yet another burst of intense activity. There are several slightly different versions circulating. Some add the line "This was on the 9:00 o'clock news the other night so im assuming it works" to the other nonsense about the story being featured in "US Today".

It is quite interesting to note that this hoax has been continually circulating for several years and shows no sign of abating. In spite of the fact that the hoax has been resoundingly debunked on countless web pages, it appears that people continue to forward this absurd email in the vain hope that it "just might" be true.


Just a reminder that, if you would like to ask questions about scams or hoaxes, please use the Hoax-Slayer Forums The amount of email enquiries I receive continues to increase every week. Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible for me to answer them all. Thus, it is increasingly unlikely that you will receive an answer to a scam or hoax question via email.

Thank you again for all the examples you have submitted. I certainly appreciate you taking the time to send them to me.

Discuss This Story

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The Hoax_Slayer Newsletter is published by:
Brett M.Christensen
Queensland, Australia
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©Brett M. Christensen, 2008
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