Some time ago, I got an e-mail from a friend of
mine that told me about a new e-mail system that was being tested. My friend had
forwarded an e-mail that explained how the CEO of Disney had joined with Microsoft's Bill
Gates, to test a system that would track e-mail and determine who was getting messages.
The companies were offering people that forwarded the e-mails a voucher for a free
trip to Disneyland. All I had to do was send the e-mail to everyone on my e-mail
mailing list. Since my friend is a very reputable person and has a high level of
integrity, I believed the e-mail and sent it right along! Much to my surprise,
another friend wrote back with an explanation to that e-mail and a way to solve the
problem in the future. Turns out, I didn't just have egg on my face, I had a whole
a similar e-mail:
From: name removed)>
To: Gullible2@hotmail.com (name removed)
CC: (names removed)
Subject: Check this out quickly and respond!
Date: Sun, 07 Nov 1999 22:10:11 EST
Subject: Fw: Check this out quickly and respond!
I am forwarding this because the person who sent it to me is a very professional business
person and a good friend and does not send me junk.
Microsoft and AOL are now the largest Internet company and in an effort make sure that
Internet explorer remains the most widely used program, Microsoft and AOL are running an
e-mail beta test. When you forward this e-mail to friends, Microsoft can and will track it
(if you are a Microsoft Windows user) for a two week time period.
For every person that you forward this e-mail to, Microsoft will pay you $245.00, for
every person that you sent it to that forwards it on, Microsoft will pay you $243.00 and
for every third person that receives it, you will be paid $241.00. Within two weeks,
Microsoft will contact you for your address and then send you a check.
I thought this was a scam myself, but two weeks after receiving this e-mail and forwarding
it on, Microsoft contacted me for my e-mail and within days, I received a check for
$24,800.00. You need to respond before the beta testing is over. If anyone can afford this
Bill Gates is the man. It's all marketing expense to him.
One of the more obvious errors of this
message include that fact that AOL and Netscape, NOT AOL & Microsoft are now partners,
but variations of this message are all over the internet.
If you get the volume of e-mail that I get, you must be spending a considerable amount of
time dealing with various issues, the worst of which happens to be what are now being
called "modern urban myths" Our gossip ridden society is just ripe for these
kinds of beauties and with the demand, comes a heaping supply of straight faced geekazoid
e-liars. The best phony e-mail was about a man that woke-up in a bath tub full of
ice and learned that his kidney was stolen. Foreign disreputable medical students are
suspected. Everyone swears that it's true. Don't take a free drink from anyone, it might
be a "Mickey Finn."
> From: (name removed)
> Sent: Monday, September 27, 1999 12:57 PM
> To: (name removed)
> Subject: FW: Kidney thieves
VERY SCARY... READ
This story came from the "DailyTexan" -- the University of Texas newspaper.
Apparently it occurred during Fall Premier-a, UT tradition that is a celebration of
the end of midterms. "Reason not to party anymore" This guy went out last
Saturday night to a party. He was having a good time, had a couple of beers and some girl
seemed to like him and invited him to go to another party. He quickly agreed and decided
to go along with her. She took him to a party in some apartment and they continued
to drink, and even got involved with some other drugs (unknown to which). The next thing
he knew, he woke up completely naked in a bathtub filled with ice. He was still feeling
the effects of the drugs, but looked around to see he was alone. He looked down at his
chest, which had "CALL 911 OR YOU WILL DIE" written on it in lipstick. He saw a
phone was on a stand next to the tub, so he picked it up and dialed. He explained to the
EMS operator what the situation was and that he didn't know where he was, what he took, or
why he was really calling. She advised him to get out of the tub. He did, and she asked
him to look himself over in the mirror. He did, and appeared normal, so she told him to
check his back. He did, only to find two 9 inch slits on his lower back. She told him to
get back in the tub immediately, and they sent a rescue team over. Apparently, after
being examined, he found out more of what had happened. His kidneys were stolen. They are
worth $10,000 each on the black market. (I was unaware this even existed.)
Several guesses are in order: The second party was a sham, the people involved had to be
at least medical students, and it was not just recreational drugs he was given.
Regardless, he is currently in the hospital on life support, awaiting a spare kidney. The
University of Texas in conjunction with Baylor University Medical Center is conducting
tissue research to match the sophomore student with a donor. I wish to warn you about a
new crime ring that is targeting business travelers. This ring is well organized, well
funded, has very skilled personnel, and is currently in most major cities and recently
very active in New Orleans. The crime begins when a business traveler goes to a
lounge for a drink at the end of the workday. A person in the bar walks up as they sit
alone and offers to buy them a drink. The last thing the traveler remembers is sipping
that drink, until they wake up in a hotel room bathtub, their body submerged to their neck
in ice. There is a note taped to the wall instructing them not to move and to call 911. A
phone is on a small table next to the bathtub for them to call. The business traveler
calls 911 who have become quite familiar with this crime. The business traveler instructed
by the 911 operator to very slowly and carefully behind them and feel if there is a tube
protruding from their lower back. The business traveler finds the tube and answers,
"Yes." The 911 operator tells them to remain still, having already sent
paramedics to help. The operator knows that both of the business traveler's kidneys have
This is not a scam or out of a science fiction novel, it is real. It is documented and
confirmable. If you travel or someone close to you travels, please be careful. Sadly, this
is very true. My husband is a Houston Firefighter/EMT and they have received alerts
regarding this crime ring. It is to be taken very seriously. The daughter of a friend of a
fellow firefighter had this happen to her. Skilled doctor's are performing these crimes!
(which, by the way have been highly noted in the LAS VEGAS area). Additionally, the
military has received alerts regarding this. This story blew me away. I really want
as many people to see this as possible so please bounce this to whoever you can.
Michele Shafer - DML/Lab Administration Medical Manager
XXXXX N.W. 99th Street
Alachua, Florida 32615
Tel. (XXX) XXX-2148
Fax (XXX) XXX-1505
Is this not one of the scariest things you have ever heard of? PLEASE forward this to
everyone you know.
Customer Support Admin
Phone #: XXX-XXX-4803 Fax #: XXX-XXX-1100
These yarns could cover the earth with a
world wide net of deceit. None of them are true. Mean time, You're looking at
a stream of useless time wasting e-mail gullibility gaffs. Here's my solution, so you'll
never be caught again. Check the links that detect the e-manure being electronically
squished in your direction. And don't believe everything you read. Especially on the
What to do if you get an e-mail or hear a report about a deal that's too good to
be true or a warning that requires your action :
1) Don't believe
anything just because it was generated by technology.
Electronic e-mail is no more accurate than any other source in the world. Consider
anything to be false gossip that is not directly from the actual person or event.
Apply the same standard as a court would against hearsay evidence. "friend of a
friend" statements can not be submitted in court for good reasons. People love
to repeat information and almost never check to see if it's true.
2) Check with the sender to validate the e-mail
Many times phony messages are not even sent by the apparent sender. Most pranks have
forged headers and signatures, and when you try to verify the validity of the message, you
will find that the address is not valid. If it's a forwarded message from a friend, check
to see if they really know anything other than message text. If not, then don't forward.
3) Don't give
greater faith to any media reports.
Television, radio, newsprint and even e-commerce have one thing in common: They are a
business. They are designed to make as much money as possible. Don't misunderstand their
A) Media time constraints and competition are severe, so on occasion they don't
B) Media appear more accurate then they actually are because media sources NEVER
retract their own mistakes with the same intensity that they report them. So if a
front page false story is printed with big bold print, then you can rely on the fact that
the retraction will be in tiny small print on the back page.
C) Media sources are frequently receptive to "flash over substance"
making stories entertaining but not necessarily accurate. Unlike most
professions today, most "western" media reporters are not governmentally
required to uphold any standards and are not required to be certified or educated in any
way. The only enforceable exceptions are civil slander charges, labor standards like
OSHA, and transmission standards, like the FCC rules. Just because George Carlin can
now repeat the seven words you can't say on television, doesn't mean you need to look,
listen or believe any particular media source.
4) Take a moral
Remember Sunday school? Sorry to remind you, but the ninth commandment (Exodus 20:16) says
"You shall not bear false witness" That's a pretty clear moral instruction
against lying or repeating a false story.
5) Check the sources.
Use the following links to check out facts before stepping in obnoxious e-manure and
spreading it all around.
LINKS TO URBAN MYTHS & VIRUS HOAXES
Snopes.com Urban Legions Reference Pages
Excellent & Extremely well researched site with sources, citations, &
explanations. Huge data base of material.
Start your search here!
Nice looking site with fun information on myths & scares.
Non Profit Net Hoax Page
A good effort worth reading
Computer Virus Myths
"Mundus vult decipi"
(the world wants to be deceived) Home page for site below
This is a very nicely done site on virus hoaxes... A few stabs at virus company scares
Stiller Research Virus Hoaxes
Large list of various virus hoaxes
Symantic Virus Hoax Page
McAfee Virus Hoax Page
Dr Solomon's Virus Hoax Page
DataFellows Hoax Warning
Corporate Anti Virus Hoax Pages are generally very inclusive.
Computer Incident Advisory
(Dept. of Energy USA)
Fair US Government Site
Evaluating Research Sources
Learn how not to be burned
Disney/Gates E-mail Money
Kidney Theft Exposed
The Truth About Santa
E-bay Auction Scams
Telemarketing Consumer Site