Online Scams, Chains, and Hoaxes
After about the millionth facebook friend of mine joined The Coalition of People Who Think That By Joining This Group I’ll Magically Have a Dislike Button on My Facebook Page, I decided this was a post that needs to be written. We’ve all seen them, Bill Gates is testing email forwards and wants to give you money, a little girl in some city is sick and needs prayers and/or donations, or my personal favorite…a hundred puppies are going to die if you don’t forward this to all of your friends. They appear in our inboxes, or facebook pages, and for me, they are one of the most annoying things in the world.
So how can you avoid being the annoying friend who falls for every single one of them?
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This is a standard saying, but I see so many people that don’t believe it. They think to themselves… “well what if this time it’s actually true?” or “it doesn’t hurt to try!” I say yes… yes it DOES hurt to try, you are only perpetuating the hoax, and that is what is harmful. If these things just stopped at the first round of suckers, they would forever die and go away! So yes, it does hurt to try in this case. In the “too good to be true” category is things like Walmart is going to give $1000 gift cards to the first 1000 fans on Facebook. Really? They aren’t. They don’t care. Sure they understand the importance of Facebook and Twitter, but just by creating their account they are going to get fans and followers. They don’t need a gimmick to do so. Especially a MILLION DOLLAR gimmick! So basically use a little common sense when you see things like this, and error on the side of caution.
Facebook groups that promise you the Brooklyn Bridge for joining their group or page, are probably a hoax. I see this one ALL the time. Joining a group will not give you a dislike button, nor will it allow you to view who is looking at your profile, or any of the other crazy promises some groups claim to be able to give you. The best thing to do is only to join groups or fan pages of people you actually like, or things you like (such as http://www.facebook.com/tech4mommies)
DO YOUR RESEARCH! If you get an email and it sounds a bit fishy (or should I say phishy!) then check it out before you blindly send it along. http://www.snopes.com is a great resource for all things hoaxy. Check with them and find out the real scoop on that.
The last thing I want to discuss with regards to “chains” is Facebook statuses. A Facebook or Twitter status is to talk about things of interest to you. I’ve seen a lot of “if you love puppies put this as your status for an hour”… how about you just say what you like so much about puppies, and be original? If you want to stamp out autism or support the troops then do just that! Write a letter to the troops or send a care package and then put as your status “I just sent a great care package to the troops in Iraq, you should totally do the same!” or “I just donated $10 for Autism research and here is a website that you can go to to do the same”. These are things that will actually make a difference, instead of lacking originality and just passing on a lame chain. 🙂
I promise to step off my soapbox now. Thank you for listening.
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