Keystone Keyboard

Computer Info You Can Live With

January 21, 2002








Well... not really!


A bout once a month, I receive some variation of this e-mail. The basic content is always the same, though. "Kelsey Brooke Jones is missing. Can you help?" The e-mail usually arrives with a zillion e-mail addresses showing because it’s been forwarded and forwarded by people who haven’t learned to use the BCC: method of sending e-mails. (Something you either already knew how to do or learned from my Newsletter of January 7, 2002.


Kelsey Brooke Jones apparently WAS missing - for approximately two hours back in October of 1999. Yet, this e-mail lives on. Why? Because it’s easier to START a chain letter on the Internet than to STOP one. It’s in our nature to believe what we read and it doesn’t take much effort to forward an e-mail like this to everyone in our address book.


“Well, what harm does it do to pass on a hoax e-mail?” I hear you ask. Well, besides the obvious - it consumes people’s time - forwarding these types of e-mails can have consequences that you could barely imagine.


For instance, have you received the e-mail that says the Cracker Barrel Restaurant chain is giving away a $50 certificate if you forward the e-mail to others? A totally false e-mail has caused Cracker Barrel time and money. They’ve even had to post a page on their website denying that they are giving away certificates.


Then, there’s the e-mail hoax about a supposedly real virus called the Klingerman Virus that comes in the mail on a sponge. This has been making the rounds since long before the anthrax scare here in the USA and it has frightened scores of people - especially the elderly. Here's just one example of the chaos something like this can cause. Quoted from:


 On 25 May 2000, a terrified resident of Auburn, Maine, called 911 after receiving an envelope from the Handyman Club of America containing a free sanding sponge. As the Associated Press reported: "Emergency dispatchers kept [him] on the line while fire trucks, cruisers and ambulances rushed to his home. The street was sealed off for half a mile. Police called the FBI. People in spacey hazardous materials suits ushered [him] outside, stripped him down to his shorts and sprayed him with a fire hose before sending him to the hospital."

So, what can you do about ending a hoax? The first thing to do is to be leery of any e-mail that promises something that sounds too good to be true (Bill Gates is NOT going to send you a check for $4,000 because Microsoft is tracking your e-mail! Trust me on that one.) Secondly, e-mails that start out “This is true!” usually aren’t. Question those types immediately.


The next thing you can do is check the sites that provide information about e-mail hoaxes. I’m going to list the links at the end of this Newsletter. Might I suggest that you take a moment and go to one or two of them and bookmark them as favorites so that you can check next time you get this type of e-mail?


One final note on the subject of hoax e-mails. If you want to forward something that isn’t a hoax and that might really help your friends and co-workers, forward THIS newsletter to them! Or, at least the URL where they can subscribe to receive their very own copy!

(Yes, that was a cheap plug! LOL)




Things That Crossed My Desk desk.jpg




O ne of the reasons I chose the subject of hoax e-mails for this Newsletter was that I received three of them this week alone. Here they are along with a virus warning.


Item #1. Kelsey Brooke Jones - the lead subject of this Newsletter. You can read the entire story here:


Item 2. Another hoax e-mail - Walt Disney’s image appears on a bust inside the Haunted Mansion at Disneyworld. Read about it here:


Item 3. A notice regarding a variation of a Word 97 virus - Marker-C. If you don’t use Word 97 you can’t be affected.





  Where to check e-mail hoaxes


A s promised, here are the sites I recommend you use to check any e-mail that you find questionable. Hopefully, you’ll check one of these sites BEFORE you send to everyone in your address book!



The one I use the most:


Other valuable sites:


If you’d like to read the top 25 hoax list - as complied by, check it out here:


            That’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed and maybe even learned something along the way!





This page updated January 21, 2005
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