Hoaxes, Myths and Urban Legends Email Phishing Internet Fraud Identity Theft Privacy Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act
The following content is from 1999. Links may or may not still work. This material is being retained for archival purposes.

Ted Burton borrowing from others, reworked and added to this useful and informative list of websites that debunk and demystify a lot of urban legends on hoaxes on the Internet. The links also include website that can help you understand a lot of terms used on the Internet, find answers to problems on the net, and more. If anything the message is an example of how something can pass through the net and grow as each person adds a bit or tinkers with it trying to help others. Our thanks to Ted!

-----Original Message-----
From: Scouts-L Youth Group List [mailto:Scouts-L@LISTSERV.TCU.EDU] On
Behalf Of Ted Burton
Sent: Tuesday, January 05, 1999 6:53 PM
Subject: Urban Legends, Virus Alerts, etc.

Folks,  from time to time you get one of those messages urging you to
"tell all your friends immediately before the [insert name here]
virus erases their hard drive, sterilizes their children, and
defrosts their freezer".  From time to time you get a message saying
that Little Orphan Annie is going to have a great blessing bestowed
on her if only you would e-mail ten thousand friends with a request.
Almost always, these messages are a fraud, designed to snarl up the
Internet with a huge volume of messages.

Here is a rather full list of Internet resources to help you sort
truth from hoax, which I urge you to look over every time you get one
of those messages -- BEFORE you tell everyone immediately.


"E-mail Virus alerts & other chain letters:"


Specifically for the "Win a Holiday" Hoax:

AOL has an entire section on this hoax and others similar to
it. Go to Keyword: "virus." Your own Internet service providers
may have info, as well.

If you are concerned about alerts of any kind from Microsoft,
check their website or sign up for their free newsletter, and be
the first to know: http://www.microsoft.com/

"E-mail Virus" and Other Kinds of Hoaxes:

A light-hearted treatment of hoaxes:

Some good material on evaluating sources:

* Evaluating Internet Research Sources at

* Evaluation of Information Sources at

* Bibliography on Evaluating Internet Resources at

It *is* possible to design responsible alerts for people to
circulate on the Internet. Here is a how-to that draws positive
conclusions from long experience with badly designed alerts:

* Designing Effective Action Alerts for the Internet at

Please check with reliable hoax-busters before forwarding
material such as a "virus" e-mail message, to *anyone,* please.
Now that you know, you needn't ever again fall victim or
victimize others in spreading groundless fears or "urban
legends." It's *so easy to check.* Spread the good word.

Netiquette & E-mail usage for beginners:

Netiquette Guidelines for & beyond beginners (RFC 1855; FYI 28)
         This document provides a minimum set of guidelines for Network
         Etiquette (Netiquette) which organizations may take and adapt
         for their own use.  As such, it is deliberately written in a
         bulleted format to make adaptation easier and to make any
         particular item easy (or easier) to find.  It also functions
         as a minimum set of guidelines for individuals, both users and
         administrators.  This memo is the product of the Responsible
         Use of the Network (RUN*1) Working Group of the Internet
         Engineering Task Force (IETF*2).

Ethics and the Internet (RFC 1087)
         This memo is a statement of policy by the Internet
         Architectures Board (IAB*3) at the Internet Engineering Task
         Force (IETF*2) concerning the proper use of the resources of
         the Internet.

Guidelines for Conduct on and Use of Internet
         Draft document written and maintained by Vint Cerf,
         President of Internet Society (ISOC*4).

The Net:  User guidelines and Netiquette
http://www.fau.edu/netiquette/net/index.html (Note: this page appears to be gone now.)
         The guidelines by Ms Arlene H. Rinardy of Florida Atlantic
         University (FAU*5).

Netiquette <http://www.albion.com/netiquette/book/index.html
         The WWW version of the book "Netiquette" by Virginia Shea,
         published by Albion Books*6.




Privacy on-line:

Why 30 hyphens or a line of asterisks is a no-no in
list messages (they are part of the digest format
and having them in messages, messes things up):
Thank you for listening. Ted Burton, Inland Northwest 611, Es
Kaielgu 311
       Alappiechsu Wiechcheu I <<<=-=<I=-=<<< I Talks-Fast Wolf
    been there, done that: CC, DC, CA, CM, SA, SM, MC, CR, NJ SA
          ------ SA T162 &  "a good ol' Fox too"  -------
             at home in North Central Idaho, used to be Alaska
   e- mailto:scouter@valint.net
Ne molesti te deprimant ... resist the Redmondian Borg! Semper Mac!

Scouts Using the Internet Cartoon - Courtesy of Richard Diesslin - Click to See More Cartoons
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