What do Robin Williams, Starbucks, lipstick and Pepsi have in common?

They're all subjects of popular Internet hoaxes or rumors, usually distributed via email. Do these irritate you too? Surely I'm not the only one who gets these! My friend just sent me (and a bunch of her friends) an email about Robin William's supposed plan for how the US should handle foreign affairs. She sent me the one about Starbuck's a couple of weeks ago. GIVE ME A BREAK!

I'll admit some of them are entertaining, but the fact is that the email contains false content. Sending it wastes time, bandwidth, and makes the sender look foolish...

So just figured I'd email everyone on my email lists andmake sure YOU know where to verify these types of e-mails. You're probably pretty Internet-savvy, but it's good to have the info available when you need it.

These areprobably the best resources to check to see if an email is really a hoax, scam or rumor.


Check this one out FIRST if the email concerns a virus or suggests that you do ANYTHING to change files on your computer.



My favorite is http://www.Snopes.com

Here's their current list of the 25 "hottest" urban legends as of today:

Snopes Top 25 Urban Legends

1. E-mail claims cell phone numbers will soon be made available to telemarketers.

2. E-mail claims Glade PlugIns brand air fresheners are a major fire hazard.

3. 1-800-FREE-411 offers free directory assistance service.

4. E-mail claims Oliver North warned Congress about Osama bin Laden in 1987.

5. Warning about the "A Virtual Card for You" computer virus.

6. Warning about the "Life Is Beautiful" PowerPoint-based computer virus.

7. E-mail offers transcript of 60 Minutes commentator Andy Rooney's explaining his political views.

8. E-mail warns about scammers pretending to be credit card fraud investigation agents.

9. E-mail warns that several major brands of lipstick contain dangerous levels of lead.

10. E-mail describes actor Denzel Washington's large donation to the Fisher House Foundation.

11. Controversy over a new Pepsi can design and the Pledge of Allegiance.

12. E-mail describes woman who evades a rapist posing as a policeman by calling #77 (or *677) on her cell phone.

13. FDA health advisory regarding drugs containing PPA (phenylpropanolamine).

14. E-mail claims the California Highway Patrol are about to launch a 30-day speeding ticket frenzy.

15. Warning about scammers running up long-distance charges on your bill by asking you to press #-9-0 on your telephone.

16. E-mail claims Bill Gates, Microsoft and AOL are giving away cash and merchandise to those who forward an e-mail message.

17. Web site claims to provide information and equipment for making 'bonsai kittens.'

18. Missing child alert: Penny Brown.

19. Amy Bruce, a terminally ill young girl, writes "Slow Dance" poem.

20. E-mail claims Starbucks refused to send free coffee to G.I.s serving in Iraq.

21. E-mail claims Applebee's restaurants are giving away free gift certificates.

22. E-mail warns about scammers' paging you from the 809 area code.

23. E-mailed computer virus claims Osama bin Laden has been captured or hanged.

24. E-mail offers comedian Robin Williams' plan for how the U.S. should handle foreign affairs.

25. E-mail claims Target stores do not support veterans.