Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Email Hoaxes

Okay, this has nothing to do with the kids, so skip it if you want to! Recently I have received several forwarded emails warning me of various threatening situations lurking out there in the world. After checking snopes.com, I discovered them all to be unsubstantiated or flat out untrue. So I want to briefly mention them here, in case you've received the same emails.

First, despite the fact that my email came with a picture of a very creepy real-life spider, neither it nor any of its relatives has ever been found lurking beneath the seat of a public restroom toilet waiting to inject unsuspecting bottoms with its deadly poison.

Second, the new presidential dollar coins, although they do not have the words "In God We Trust" printed on the front or back, they DO have this phrase printed on the edge of the coin. It was apparently relocated to make room for the names and years in office of the presidents featured on the coins. So it's still there, just in a different place.

Finally, I'm often getting emails to warn me about tricks being used by rapists and serial killers and robbers and such. Recently I've been warned not to sniff perfume samples in parking lots and to be suspicious of the nicely dressed man who offers to help change the tire on my car that is mysteriously flat when I return to it after shopping or who approaches me claiming to be returning some money I "dropped." According to snopes.com, there is no substance strong enough to knock a person out with merely one or two sniffs, there is no evidence of any actual criminal using "dropped" money as a way to lure victims, and there's only one case back in 1989 where a man let the air out of a woman's tire and then showed up to help fix it and ended up kidnapping her, etc.

HOWEVER, I think that whether or not these situations have ever brought harm to anyone, the bottom line is don't be stupid. Pay attention to your surroundings, don't talk to strangers in parking lots no matter how nice they seem to be, don't allow strangers to ride in your car no matter what good service they have done for you, and if something doesn't feel right, go back into the store and get security. Possibly, the reason there are no actual cases of people being harm ed in the above situations is because they were all smart enough to smell a rat and foil the evil plot. Hopefully we're all that smart! For more information on these and any other potential email hoaxes, check out www.snopes.com.

May you all have a very safe Christmas season!

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