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Site Updated Nov 11, 2015

The Fun of Forwarding and the Risks Involved

Besides keeping in touch with your friends and relatives, having an e-mail account allows you to share many humorous things with other people. Forwarding an e-mail that is completely untrue can be embarrassing. There are a few questions to ask about an e-mail that will help you spot those absurd stories and exaggerated tales. 

1. Does the e-mail show the date on which it was originally written?
2. Does the e-mail provide a web site address (URL), an e-mail address, a phone number, or a postal address where the latest details can be obtained? One prayer request e-mail was floating around cyberspace over a year after the person had already recovered.
3. Does the e-mail provide a credible source to substantiate its claim? Back in school, the teachers and professors expected footnotes and bibliographies in those term papers, theses, and dissertations. Expect to see documentation before you click the forward button.
4. If the e-mail is encouraging you to write a letter to a government agency or elected official, is the address correct? You may spend postage on a letter that will be returned to you because of an incorrect address. Visit the web site of the party mentioned to see if you can locate their official position on the issue at hand. 

Reasons why you should be cautious when surfing the Internet

Symantec Anti-Virus Center
McAfee Virus Hoax Center

Computer Incident Advisory Capability of the US Dept. of Energy: Internet Hoaxes

Urban Legends and Folklore -- Security Assurance Services
Trend Micro - Provider of tools to detect and block viruses and malicious code

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