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Issue 59 - Hoax-Slayer Newsletter

Issue 59: February, 2006

This month in Hoax-Slayer:
Visa & MasterCard Telephone Credit Card Scam

Summary:
Email forward warns that scammers are attempting to obtain CVV2/CVC2 security numbers by phoning credit card holders and posing as Security and Fraud Department staff from Visa or MasterCard (Full commentary below.)



Status:
Plausible, but message may significantly exaggerate the actual frequency of such scam incidents.

Example:(Submitted February, 2006)
CREDIT CARD FRAUD: IMPORTANT - PLEASE READ

New Credit Card Scam!!

The following was given to me by a colleague, whose husband works for Barclays and has dealings with Barclaycard.

Quote: This information is worth reading. By understanding how the VISA & MasterCard Telephone Credit Card Scam works, you'll be better prepared to protect yourself.

One of our employees was called on Wednesday from "VISA", and I was called on Thursday from "MasterCard". Note, the callers do not ask for your card number; they already have it.

The scam works like this: Person calling says, "This is (name), and I'm calling from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA. My Badge number is 12460. Your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I'm calling to verify. This would be on your VISA card that was issued by (name of bank). Did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Device for 249.99 from a Marketing company based in (name of any town or city)?"

When you say "No" the caller continues with, "Then we will be issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we have been watching and the charges range from 150 to 249, just under the 250 purchase pattern that flags most cards. Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to (gives you your address), is that correct?"

You say "yes". The caller continues - "I will be starting a Fraud investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 0800 number listed on the back of your card and ask for Security. You will need to refer to this Control Number. The caller then gives you a 6 digit number. "Do you need me to read it again?"

Here's the IMPORTANT part on how the scam works. The caller then says, "I need to verify you are in possession of your card". He'll ask you to "turn your card over and look for some numbers". There are 7 numbers; the first 4 are part of your card number, the next 3 are the security Numbers that verify you are the possessor of the card. These are the numbers you sometimes use to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card. The caller will ask you to read the 3 numbers to him.

After you tell the caller the 3 numbers, he'll say, "That is correct, I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still have your card. Do you have any other questions?" After you say No, the caller then thanks you and states, "Don't hesitate to call back; if you do", and hangs up. You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you the Card number. But after we were called on Wednesday, we called back within 20 minutes to ask a question. Are we glad we did! The REAL VISA Security Department told us it was a scam and in the last 15 minutes a new purchase of 249.99 was charged to our card.

Long story made short - we made a real fraud report and closed the VISA account. VISA is reissuing us a new number. What the scammers want is the 3-digit PIN number on the back of the card. Don't give it to them. Instead, tell them you'll call VISA or Master card directly for verification of their conversation. The real VISA told us that they will never ask for anything on the card as they already know the information since they issued the card! If you give the scammers your 3 Digit PIN you think you're receiving a credit. However, by the time you get your statement you'll see charges for purchases you didn't make, and by then it's almost to late and/or more difficult to actually file a fraud report.

What makes this more remarkable is that on Thursday, I got a call from a "Jason Richardson of MasterCard" with a word-for-word repeat of the VISA scam. This time I didn't let him finish. I hung up! We filed a police report, as instructed by VISA. The police said they are taking several of these reports daily! They also urged us t o tell everybody we know that this scam is happening.

Please pass this on to all your family and friends. By informing each other, we protect each other.

Commentary:
The three-digit security code included on the back of Visa and MasterCard credit cards is designed to enhance security by allowing merchants to verify the user's card during "card-not-present" transactions. The security codes, known as CVV2 and CVC2, are intended to reduce the occurrences of fraud for transactions such as online purchases and phone orders in which the merchant does not physically process the card. The CVV2/CVC2 is separate from the card account number and is printed on the back of the card in the signature panel. These security codes are not included in the information encoded on the card's magnetic strip or on receipts. Therefore, even if scammers have managed to acquire a credit card number, they may not manage to fully utilize the information unless they also acquire the CVV2/CVC2. Criminals obtain credit card numbers via card skimming devices, online and email fraud, stolen transaction records and other devious ways. However, while these methods certainly allow scammers to steal credit card information, this information will not always include the CVV2/CVC2 security codes.

Therefore the motive for the scheme outlined in the message is clear. If scammers have already acquired your credit card number, they might very well wish to enhance the usefulness of the stolen information by acquiring the credit card number's corresponding security code. If the scammers have your personal contact details as well as your card number, then this "Security and Fraud Department" phone ruse could certainly be an effective method for them to procure the desired information.

Thus, the outlined scheme is certainly plausible. If they already had your credit card, scammers could certainly carry out the schemes described in the message and have most likely done so in the past. That said, I do feel that the message may significantly exaggerate the actual frequency of such scam incidents. The message implies that this scam tactic is a common occurrence. The individuals featured in the message apparently received two such scam calls within as many days and the message claims that police are taking several reports a day about the issue. However, while this warning message has been featured in many legitimate news reports and financial websites, there is little credible information about how often this scam actually occurs. In fact, an article about the email on washingtonpost.com notes that Visa and MasterCard officials "know of no specific person who's been scammed according to the story outlined in the e-mail".

The warning message has now been circulating in several countries for a number of years. In spite of this, at the time of writing, I can still find no reliable reports that described actual occurrences of this particular scam. Moreover, it should be noted that there are now several versions of the message, each with different details. Thus, the specific incidents described in these messages may well be anecdotal. As is common with email warnings of this nature, there is no way of confirming if the specific events outlined in the messages actually occurred or were simply made up as a way of embellishing the scam warning to emphasize its key points.

It also should be noted that phone-based credit card fraud is nothing new and does not only involve CVV2/CVC2 security codes. Phone based credit card scams have been around for a long time. While the CVV2/CVC2 ruse may be a new twist, fraudsters have long tried to glean credit card details from victims by making unsolicited phone calls and misrepresenting themselves as company staff members or law enforcement officials. Cardholders should be very wary of giving any information at all about their account in response to an unsolicited phone call. As with email-based phishing, scammers may call the potential victim and claim that the security of an account has been compromised and request credit card and banking details, ostensibly to "verify" the account. Alternatively, phone scammers may quote the partial credit card number often recorded on a sales docket and ask the victim to provide the missing digits as "verification". And scammers may obtain credit card details by posing as telemarketers.

Although the specific CVV2/CVC2 scam described may not occur as often as implied, the advice in the message is nevertheless worth heeding. You should never provide account information to anyone claiming to be from a credit card provider, the financial institution that issued the card or any other company, without first effectively verifying the identity of the caller. Credit card companies or banks are unlikely to request sensitive financial information over the phone unless you were the one who initiated the call.

If you do receive such an unsolicited call, the safest course of action is to:
  1. Ask for the caller's name and department details and then terminate the call.

  2. Find a legitimate contact number for the company either in a bill or other official documentation or a telephone directory. (Don't use a contact number provided by the caller).

  3. Call the company and ask to speak to the original caller by name.
This strategy should effectively derail any scam attempts and also allow you to deal with the issue in the event that the call was actually legitimate.

A key factor regarding this scheme is that it can only work if the scammer already has your credit card number and contact details. In other words, regardless of the success or failure of the scheme, your financial security has already been compromised. Thus, if you do receive a security code scam call like the one described, recognizing it as a scam and terminating the call is only part of the solution. Naturally, you should also immediately inform your credit card issuer that the security of your card may have been compromised and take any other steps necessary to protect yourself from credit card fraud and identity theft.

Another version of the email:
The short of the following article is to NEVER give ANY Credit Card information to ANYONE unless YOU initiated the call. That way you know who you are dealing with.

New Credit Card Scam!!

Note, the callers do not ask for your card number; they already have it. This story is worth reading as it has been passed along to me from one of my Reps!!! By understanding how the VISA & MasterCard Telephone Credit Card Scam works, you'll be better prepared to protect yourself.

My spouse was called on Wednesday from "VISA", and I was called on Thursday from "MasterCard".

The scam works like this: Person calling says, "This is (name), and I'm calling from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA. My Badge number is 12460 Your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I'm calling to verify. This would be on your VISA card which was issued by (name of bank).

Did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Device for $497.99 from a Marketing company based in Arizona?"

When you say "No", the caller continues with, "Then we will be issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we have been watching and the charges range from $297 to $497, just under the $500 purchase pattern that flags most cards. Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to (gives you your address), is that correct?"

You say "yes". The caller continues - "I will be starting a Fraud investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 1- 800 number listed on the back of your card (1-800-VISA) and ask for Security.

You will need to refer to this Control Number. The caller then gives you a 6 digit number. "Do you need me to read it again?"

Here's the IMPORTANT part on how the scam works. The caller then says, "I need to verify you are in possession of your card".

He'll ask you to "turn your card over and look for some numbers". There are 7 numbers; the first 4 are part of your card number, the next 3 are the security Numbers' that verify you are the possessor of the card. These are the numbers you sometimes use to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card.

The caller will ask you to read the 3 numbers to him. After you tell the caller the 3 numbers, he'll say, "That is correct, I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still have your card. Do you have any other questions?"

After you say No, the caller then thanks you and states, "Don't hesitate to call back if you do", and hangs up.

You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you the Card number. But after we were called on Wednesday, we called back within 20 minutes to ask a question. Are we glad we did! The REAL VISA Security Department told us it was a scam and in the last 15 minutes a new purchase of $497.99 was charged to our card.

Long story made short - we made a real fraud report and closed the VISA account. VISA is reissuing us a new number. What the scammers want is the 3-digit PIN number on the back of the card. Don't give it to them.

Instead, tell them you'll call VISA or Master card directly for verification of their conversation. The real VISA told us that they will never ask for anything on the card as they already know the information since they issued the card! If you give the scammers your 3 Digit PIN Number, you think you're receiving a credit. However, by the time you get your statement you'll see charges for purchases you didn't make, and by then it's almost to late and/or more difficult to actually file a fraud report.

What makes this more remarkable is that on Thursday, I got a call from a "Jason Richardson of MasterCard" with a word-for-word repeat of the VISA scam.

This time I didn't let him finish. I hung up!

We filed a police report, as instructed by VISA. The police said they are taking several of these reports daily! They also urged us to tell everybody we know that this scam is happening.

Please pass this on to all your family and friends. By informing each other, we can protect each other!

References:
Three numbers that can halt credit card fraud
BBB warns of another credit card scam
Another Urban Legend--With a Lesson
Three-digit spam scam is of no benefit
Banking Department Warns Against Credit Card Security Code Scam
Visa: Protection Basics
MasterCard: Security & Credit Basics
Federal Trade Commission: Avoiding Credit and Charge Card Fraud

[TOP]



Olympic Torch Invitation Virus Hoax

The "warning" message shown below claims that an email with an attached file named "Invitation" contains a virus that will destroy the hard drive of the infected computer. According to the message, the attachment opens an "Olympic Torch, which "burns" the whole hard disc C of your computer". However, the claims in the message are untrue. The message is simply a rehashed version of the long running Virtual Card for You virus hoax (see example below) and should not be taken seriously.

An examination of the two messages reveals that they share very similar wording and attempt to perpetrate the same falsehoods. Both hoaxes claim that the information has been announced by CNN, which is untrue. There is nothing on the CNN website about a virus like the one described in the message. Both also claim that the virus has been classified by Microsoft as "the most destructive virus ever" and that the virus "destroys the Zero Sector" of the infected hard drive. These claims are unfounded.

There is no mention of such a virus on any of the major anti-virus company websites other than articles debunking the "warning". McAfee, the company named in the message, dismisses the warning as a hoax.

If you receive this hoax message, please do not forward it to others. Virus hoaxes such as this one do nothing more than clutter inboxes and spread misinformation. If you receive a virus warning via email, always take the time to check the veracity of the message on a reputable anti-virus or anti-hoax website.

An example of the hoax message:
WARNING

You should be alert during the next days: Do not open any message with an attached filed called "Invitation" regardless of who sent it. It is a virus that opens an Olympic Torch which "burns" the whole hard disc C of your computer. This virus will be received from someone who has your e-mail address in his/her contact list, that is why you should send this e-mail to all your contacts. It is better to receive this message 25 times than to receive the virus and open it.

If you receive a mail called "invitation", though sent by a friend, do not open it and shut down your computer immediately.

This is the worst virus announced by CNN, it has been classified by Microsoft as the most destructive virus ever. This virus was discovered by McAfee yesterday, and there is no repair yet for this kind of virus. This virus simply destroys the Zero Sector of the Hard Disc, where the vital information is kept. SEND THIS E-MAIL TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW, COPY THIS E-MAIL AND SEND IT TO YOUR FRIENDS AND REMEMBER: IF YOU SEND IT TO THEM, YOU WILL BENEFIT ALL OF US


[TOP]



Free Golden Retriever Puppies Hoax

A cruel hoax that preys on the good nature of animal lovers continues to circulate via email and online message boards. The message arrives with several photographs of adorable Golden Retriever puppies and claims that the animals will be put down if they do not find new homes in the near future.

The claims in the message are untrue. Variations of the message, with identical puppy pictures, have been circulating for several years. Even if the original version of the message was authentic, these dogs would have either been put down years ago or long since found new homes.

Although all versions of this hoax travel with the same puppy photographs, there are significant differences in the details of the messages. Different contact information is used and the puppies supposedly reside in different areas of the United States, Canada and elsewhere.

Clearly, hoaxsters occasionally alter some of the details in the messages before sending them on. Astute pranksters know that pictures of cute animals or children along with a sad cover story is a very effective method of convincing recipients to click the "Forward" button without too much forethought. Many charity hoaxes use this tactic.

The WKRC 12 Cincinnati website reports how one animal-loving local woman fell victim to the hoax and added her own contact details to the message in good faith. After discovering that the message was a hoax, she was subsequently inundated with enquiries about the puppies.

Given the variations in these messages, there is no easy way of verifying the true whereabouts or current status of the puppies depicted in the photographs. However, considering that the photographs first began circulating back in 2002, the continued forwarding of the message is clearly pointless. If the animals shown in the photographed survived, they are certainly no longer puppies.

Please do not perpetrate this hoax by forwarding it on to others.

References:
WKRC 12 Cincinnati - Email Hoax Tricks Puppy Lovers
Better Dog Network and Humane Society
Snopes Article: Silence Is Golden

An example of the hoax message:
I just got this email from someone i work with! Does anyone need a Golden Retriever for free? They are adorable! If i wasnt allergic id take one. He better not put them down! If anyone is interested send me an email and ill forward it to them. Or contact the lady below.

Just in case you know anyone looking for cute puppies...Free puppies that will be put down if no one takes them... Do you know anyone who would want one? There are some golden retriever pups that need a home. Please contact her if you are interested.

Even if you're not interested, spread the word in order to save these puppies. If you are interested, or if you know anyone who would like a free Golden Retriever puppy (pictures attached), contact Mrs. Gaelle Wenger at gaellewenger@hotmail.com. If they do not get adopted, these puppies will unfortunately have to be put down

Golden Retriever Puppies 1

Golden Retriever Puppies 2

Golden Retriever Puppies 3


[TOP]



Registry Mechanic: Clean and Optimize Your Windows Registry

The Windows Registry is one of the most important components of your computer's operating system. The registry is a vast central database that is used to store a great deal of critical information about installed applications, hardware settings, user preferences and a lot more.

When you make Control Panel changes, alter system policies, adjust file associations, or tweak user settings, information about your changes is likely to be stored in the Windows Registry. Also, when you install or uninstall software or add hardware devices, the registry will usually be modified during the process. The registry's job is to store this very complex and varied array of data in one place so that it can be readily accessed by your computer system as required. Thus, the Windows Registry is vital for the efficient operation of your computer.

Unfortunately, the very complexity of the registry means that it tends to develop errors and inconsistencies and become more and more bloated over time. Remnants can be left in the registry when you uninstall software. Spyware or other malicious programs may insert entries into your registry without your knowledge. Unused drivers may add unnecessary clutter to the registry.

Registry problems can lead to system crashes, sudden freezes, and sluggish performance. A poorly maintained registry can severely degrade the overall performance of your computer. Thus, keeping your registry clean and efficient should be an important aspect of your regular computer maintenance schedule.

Thankfully, there is a terrific program available that can make the job of maintaining your registry very simple. The award-winning Registry Mechanic from PC Tools cleans and optimizes your registry with just a few mouse clicks. Registry Mechanic repairs invalid registry entries, removes orphaned references, scans for invalid program shortcuts and optimizes the registry by compacting wasted space. For added safety, the program makes back-ups of any registry changes just in case problems occur.

An outstanding feature of this program is that it is very easy to use, even for those new to computing. Like other PC Tools software, Registry Mechanic has an elegant and intuitive user interface and clear and comprehensive help files.

For the past several months, I have regularly used Registry Mechanic on my system and have found that it is very stable software, and does a superlative job of maintaining my registry in optimal condition. I view Registry Mechanic as a vital addition to my collection of computer maintenance and security tools and I am proud to be an affiliate for this product.

If your goal is to proactively avoid computer problems and keep your Windows system running at peak efficiency, then I highly recommend that you purchase and regularly use Registry Mechanic.

Purchase Registry Mechanic

Read more information about Registry Mechanic

[TOP]



Lauren and the *677 Police Dispatch Cell Phone Number

The email forward shown below tells the story of young Lauren, who thwarted a would-be rapist posing as a police officer in an unmarked car by dialling *677. According to the message, *677 is a special number that connects mobile (cell) phone users directly to Police Dispatch. The message describes how, as a result of Lauren's "677" call, police were able to ascertain that the vehicle following her was not driven by a real police officer and subsequently arrest the impostor. Thus, Lauren was able to save herself from harm by having the good sense to check with police before pulling over for an unmarked vehicle.

However, the information about *677 is seriously misleading. Dialling *677 will only connect you to police if you are located in Ontario, Canada. "677" is the numerical equivalent of "OPP", short for "Ontario Provincial Police". Unfortunately, the version of the email shown above does not include country specific information. The message claims that *677 is a special "Cell Phone Feature" and the implication is that this feature will work anywhere. This is clearly untrue.

There have been several versions of this warning message set in different areas of the world. Some earlier versions advised recipients to call #77 rather than *677. However, this information is also highly misleading. #77 or *77 is an alternative emergency number in some US states but not others. Thus, unless you happen to be driving in one of the states that use these numbers, dialling #77 or a similar combination will not connect you to local emergency services.

While the phone number information in the message is certainly misleading, it should be noted that crimes like the one described in the message have occurred in various places around the world. In fact, criminals have a long history of impersonating police officers in order to carry out rapes and other serious crimes. Thus, at least some of the information in this cautionary tale is worth heeding. Although we are normally obligated to obey the directions of a police officer, we certainly have the right to protect our personal safety if we have reason to believe that the officer could be an impostor. If a situation like the one described in the message occurs, drivers should signal their intention to comply and then drive to the nearest safe area before pulling over. After they have pulled over, drivers should keep car doors locked and windows up until they have determined that the person following is a real police officer. If drivers feel that it is necessary to make an emergency call to police about the issue, they should dial the main emergency number in their country.

As is often the case with such forwarded emails, it is difficult to determine if "Lauren" is a real person and the event described actually occurred. I could find no record of the particular incident described, although similar events have been reported. "Lauren" features in several versions of the email variously set in the United States, Canada and Australia. Included details about her circumstances vary. At least with the later international versions of the message, "Lauren" and the particular incident described would best be viewed as anecdotal rather than factual.

In summary, the advice in the message about using caution with regard to unmarked police cars is worth heeding. However, the information about *677 (and #77) is misleading and potentially dangerous. Thus forwarding this email in its present form is likely to do little more than perpetrate incorrect information that could potentially compromise the safety of recipients. In an emergency, every second counts, and delays caused by the failure to contact emergency personnel because the wrong number was used could be life threatening.

Finally, it should be noted that yet another version of the message lists the International Emergency Number (112) as the number "Lauren" used to contact police. This information is valid if the caller is using a GSM mobile phone. Regardless of where you live in the world, dialling "112" on a GSM mobile will automatically connect you to that country's emergency number.

References:
Ontario Provincial Police
Emergency Phone Numbers
Accused Cop Impersonator And Rapist On The Loose
International Emergency Number
Highway Notification Numbers

An example of the email:
Subject: IMPORTANT INFO - PLEASE READ

IN CASE YOU DON'T ALREADY KNOW ABOUT THIS..................GUYS, PLEASE PASS THIS ON TO YOUR WIVES, DAUGHTERS, GIRLFRIENDS, CO-WORKERS, ETC.

MUST KNOW *677

I knew about the red light on cars, but not the *677. It was about 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon, and Lauren was driving to visit a friend. An UNMARKED police car pulled up behind her and put his lights on.

*Lauren's parents have always told them never to pull over for an unmarked car on the side of the road, but rather to wait until they get to a gas station, etc *

Lauren had actually listened to her parents advice, and promptly called 677 on her cell phone to tell the police dispatcher that she would not pull over right away She proceeded to tell the dispatcher that there was an unmarked police car with a flashing red light on his rooftop behind her. The dispatcher checked to see if there were police cars where she and there weren't, and he told her to keep driving, remain calm and that he had back up already on the way.

Ten minutes later 4 cop cars surrounded her and the unmarked car behind her.

One policeman went to her side and the others surrounded the car behind. They pulled the guy from the car and tackled him to the ground. The man was a convicted rapist and wanted for other crimes.

I never knew about the *677 Cell Phone Feature, but especially for a woman alone in a car, you should not pull over for an unmarked car. Apparently police have to respect your right to keep going to a safe&quiet place. You obviously need to make some signals that you acknowledge them (i.e. put on your hazard lights) or call *677 like Lauren did.

Too bad the cell phone companies don't generally give you this little bit of wonderful information.

*Speaking to a service representative at **Bell** Mobility confirmed that *677 was a direct link to State Police Dispatch. So, now it's your turn to let your friends know about *677.

Send this to every person you know; it may save a life.


[TOP]



Saddam Hussein Nigerian Scam

Over the years, Nigerian scammers have used countless cover stories in their nefarious attempts to trap the unwary into parting with their hard earned.

A more recent scammer trend is to build a cover story that revolves around the US military involvement in Iraq. In the example shown below, Sgt. Joey Jones, a US soldier stationed in Kuwait requests the recipient's help in transferring 25 million dollars that belonged to former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein. The person who agrees to help is promised 30 percent of the funds. Of course, the request is completely bogus. Any recipient naive enough to fall for this ruse will soon receive requests for transfer fees, bribe money, or funds to cover "unexpected" expenses. The scammers will claim that the "deal" will fail if the recipient does not send these funds. If the person is foolish enough to comply with the initial request to send money, further requests are likely to follow. Generally, the scammers will attempt to steal as much money from their hapless victim as possible.

During the course of their dialogue with the scammers, victims may well be asked to provide a great deal of personal information, ostensibly to facilitate the transfer of funds. Over time, the scammers may gain enough personal information from their victim to be able to steal his or her identity.

In spite of the seemingly endless variety of cover stories used by Nigerian scammers, the core scam remains essentially the same. Be wary of any unsolicited email, letter or fax that promises you a percentage of a large sum of money in exchange for helping to transfer, procure or process funds. Such messages are very likely to be the first contact and "bait" for Nigerian scams like the one described above.

In spite of the name given to the scams, not all of these criminals operate out of Nigeria(although many of them still do). Fraudsters from many parts of the world regularly use this scam tactic and it remains a very effective tool for criminals. Every year, millions of dollars is stolen from victims all over the world by way of Nigerian scams.

Access more detailed information about Nigerian scams

Scam Example:
FROM: Sgt. Joey Jones
Important Message

Dear Sir,

Good day to you

My name is Joey Jones i am an American soldier, i am serving in the military of the 1st Armored Division in Iraq. I am now in Kuwait in the mean time, I and my partner moved funds belonging to Saddam Hussein, the total is (Twenty Five million US dollars) this money is being kept safe in a security company.

Basically since we are working for the American government we cannot keep these funds, but we want to transfer and move the funds to you, so that you can keep it for us in your safe account or an offshore account.

We will divide the total funds in three ways, since we are 3 that is involved. This means that you will take 30 percent, I will take 30 percent, and my partner will take 30 percent. 10 percent will be kept aside for expenses. This business is confidential, and it should not be discussed with anyone.

There is no risk involved whatsoever. If you are interested I will send you the full details, my job is to find a good partner that we can trust and that will assist us. Can i trust you? When you receive this letter, kindly send me an e-mail signifying your interest including your most confidential telephone/fax numbers for quick communication also your contact details.

This business is risk free. Please reply me via this email:
[Email address removed]

Respectfully submitted
Sgt. Joey M. Jones


[TOP]

Image of the North Pole With the Moon and Sun

A beautiful image supposedly depicting the North Pole at sunset is currently circulating. The image shows a large crescent moon, with the sun beneath. Both are reflected over open water.

At this point, I cannot say for certain if the image is a real photograph, digital art, or a combination of genuine images that have been digitally manipulated.

The image has created a lot of online debate. Many hold the opinion that the image is computer art rendered in a 3D graphics application such as Bryce rather than a genuine photograph.

Some have pointed out that such a large expanse of open water at the North Pole is highly unlikely. However, it should be noted that scientists have found some open water near the North Pole in recent years, possibly due to global warming.

I am currently trying to determine the true origin of the image. At this point, I am inclined to believe that the image is artwork, not a photograph. However, I cannot state this with any degree of certainty until further evidence is forthcoming. If you can shed light on the original source of the image, please join the discussion on the issue at the Hoax-Slayer Forums.

Real or fake, it is certainly a breathtaking picture.

A scene you will probably never get to see, so take a moment and enjoy God at work at the North Pole.

This is the sunset at the North Pole with the moon at its closest point. And you also see the sun below the moon.

An amazing photo and not one easily duplicated.

North Pole Moon


[TOP]

Breast Cancer Site Email

For several years, a regular visitor to inboxes around the world is an email that asks people to visit The Breast Cancer site and click on a button to help pay for mammograms for underprivileged women. Although the email has some of the characteristics of a hoax, the information it contains is true.

The Breast Cancer Site is real and money paid by site advertisers does indeed go towards providing free mammograms. When a visitor clicks on the "Fund Free Mammograms" button on the site, another page opens that contains banner advertisements from site sponsors. All of the fees paid by these sponsors are used to fund free mammograms.

The Breast Cancer Site is not in itself a non-profit organization. Some of the revenue derived from products sold in The Breast Cancer Site store generates profit for the site. However, 100% of funds generated via clicks on the "Fund Free Mammograms" button and a portion of the purchase price for products sold in the site store are used by the non-profit National Breast Cancer Foundation to provide free mammograms to minority, and low-income women in the United States.

According to information on the site, more than 2500 mammograms were funded by visitor clicks during 2005, while funds derived from site store purchases funded a further 3,359.

One small anomaly in the message should be noted. I have seen no indication that the site is "having trouble getting enough people to click on it daily to meet their quota of donating at least one free mammogram a day". The "Daily Results" page on the site indicates that the site is actually funding a lot more that one mammogram a day, even on slow days.

In any case, this is a worthy cause and I would encourage readers to regularly visit the site and click on the "Fund Free Mammograms" button.

An example of the message:
Subject: Breast Cancer Site

I know you are busy but....
A Favor to Ask
It only takes a minute....

Please tell ten friends to tell ten today! The Breast Cancer site is having trouble getting enough people to click on it daily to meet their quota of donating at least one free mammogram a day to an underprivileged woman .

It takes less than a minute to go to their site and click on "donating a mammogram" for free (pink window in the middle).

This doesn't cost you a thing.

Their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate mammogram in exchange for advertising.

Here's the web site! Pass it along to people you know.

http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/


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Yet Another MSN Close Down Hoax Message

This hoax message is yet another in the seemingly endless parade of nonsensical email messages that claim MSN is closing down its free services and will begin charging customers unless the message is forwarded to others. Every few months, hoaxsters churn out a new variant of the message that includes a new "deadline" for the supposed shutdown.

Even if MSN was examining the idea of introducing a charge for its previously free services, it certainly would not base its decision on how many times a particular message was sent to others. Such claims are just absurd. These nonsensical messages serve only to clutter inboxes, and they should not be forwarded.

For other versions of this hoax, see:
MSN 18 Contacts Hoax
MSN Messenger 500,000 Signatures Hoax
Hotmail Account Hoax

Hoax example:
Hello! PLEASE READ THIS!!!

Hey it is Andy and john the directors of MSN, sorry for the interruption but msn is closing down. this is because too many inconsiderate people are taking up all the name (eg making up lots of different accounts for just one person), we only have 578 names left. If you would like to close your account, DO NOT SEND THIS MESSAGE ON. If you would like to keep your account, then SEND THIS MESSAGE TO EVERYONE ON YOUR CONTACT LIST. This is no joke, we will be shutting down the servers. Send it on, thanks. The use of msn and hotmail will cost money from summer 2006. If you send this message to 18 different people from your list your little icon will become blue and that will make it free for you. If you dont believe me go on (www.msn.com) and see it yourself. Dont foward this message copy paste it so people will actually read it.


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Hoax-Slayer Humour: Euro-English

This rather clever email forward sounds a tad Orwellian, although it is of course only intended as a joke.

European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.

As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5-year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English".

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy.

The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.

Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensibl riten styl.

Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.

If zis mad you smil, pleas pas on to oza pepl.

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