If you cut and paste the link to my blog on your Facebook wall and e-mail it to fifty of your friends you will get a check from Bill Gates. If you don’t do it within 15 minutes you will break out in warts, your car wheels will deflate and you will fall down a well.
Sound familiar? If you have an e-mail account I’m sure you have been on the receiving end of similar pleas, they make an outrageous claim then encourage you to forward it on or risk bad luck. Last week I got one that insisted I boycott a Forever Stamp that honors the Muslim festival Eid. The problem was - there is no such stamp. How do I know this? I went straight to snopes.com to check it out.
If you have never heard of Snopes let me explain; the site debunks urban legends that end up in our inbox or plastered all over Facebook. Maybe if more people checked their facts on snopes.com first they would know that Bill Gates is not going to give them money for forwarding on e-mails and you won’t get a $50 gift certificate to Applebees either. I hate to break it to you, but Sony is not giving you a Playstation and Honda won’t give you a car for filling up your friend’s inboxes with e-mails either. Have these people ever heard the saying “There’s no such thing as a free lunch?”
A quick search online may disappoint you that Make a Wish Foundation will not make a 7 cent per e-mail donation to the medical expenses of Amirtha, who is dying of lung cancer and a brain tumor, however, as she is not a real person you can relax. Reposting something on your Facebook wall will not pay for a burn victim’s treatment or a sick kid’s heart transplant.
Some of the messages promise a get rich quick scheme; according to Snopes (and common sense) FedEx and UPS will not pay you $75 an hour to process refunds. The message telling you about the teenager that made $71,000 with a chain letter, encouraging you to do the same….also false. Don’t be tempted to try it, it’s known as a pyramid scheme and it’s illegal. If you believed those, you might be dismayed when I tell you the Nigerian prince does not need your help, he’s not real either.
So before you hit “Forward” when you get an e-mail urging you to share it with all of your friends, take a minute and check it out online. Trust me, your friends will thank you for it.