How to Verify Urban Legends and Email Scams with Snopes

Over the last couple of years there have been dozens of occasions where my mother has shared with me some dire information that she has learned from an email sent to her by a well-meaning friend. Nine times out of 10 the topic of the email message will turn out to be an urban legend.

Actually, now that I think of it, I'm pretty sure that only once has she brought me home a copy of an email warning that turned out to be true. Water can in fact explode in your face if you boil it in the microwave! Sure, it is extremely unlike to happen, and in fact it is only possible if you take the water out of the microwave and hold the cup just under your face, but it can happen.


Urban legends, however, tend to be quite harmless. Sure, they may be a bit of a pain, especially if you are post office employee drowning in millions of greeting cards sent to a kid who recovered from his terminal illness years ago, but hey, at least it keeps people employed! Email scams are an altogether different sort of employment however, the scammy thieving kind.

By now, lots of folks are familiar with the Nigerian email scams, but plenty of others still manage to fall for it, day after day. But letters from foreign dignateries and government lotteries are not the only thing to watch out for in your email.

Be wary of any emails purporting to be coming from places such as Paypal, Amazon, Ebay or your bank. Yes, these places will send you email. No, they will not ask you for your password or any information that can help them access your account.

For safety's sake, simply avoid clicking links in email messages and go and type the website address into your browser instead. Make sure you are running good and up-to-date virus protection software, or even better, run a complete security program on your computer that can prevent against phishing attempts as well.

Also, if it sounds weird, let's face it, it probably isn't true. Do us all a favor and check Snopes first before passing on any forwarded emails to your entire address book, okay? PLEASE! Thank you :)

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Comments 7 comments

Zabbella profile image

Zabbella 7 years ago from NJ-USA

Thank you for that.

1. In my myspace account, I have gotten bogus people offering friendship etc. I automatically mark it as spam.

2. My sis sent me an e-mail telling me the horrors of baby carrots! I love baby carrots darn it. ( that has got to be a bad urban legend)


Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 7 years ago from Cornwall

thanks for this, I had one the other day saying that I had won x amount on the e-mail lottery..realized it was a scam, but many wouldn't , they are so convincing.


Judy Cinzio 5 years ago

I have received an email saying that continual use of foods containing the artificial sweetner, Aspartame can make people very sick and even eventually kill some. How do I find out if this is a scam, please? Judy


popcorn, mobile phone 5 years ago

mail showing popcorn being cooked by radiation of mobile phones. Is this a fake?


Sue 5 years ago

Melissa Costa (10 Aug 2011)

"1968 Prophecy by a 90 Year Old Norwegian Woman"

I keep on getting these emails. "Letters to Sabrina and Susan from God" etc. What can you tell me about this - is this true, is it a scam? Thanks so much.


James Brenner 4 years ago

Snopes is a FRAUD and a SCAM - Snopes DOES build credibility by identifing insignificant internet myths and chain letter emails - BUT IT IS A TOTAL PROPAGANDA MACHINE FOR ANY RELEVANT ISSUES !!!!!

The site has become a false crutch for those too lazy to do their own research.

Many of the Zombified populous will just look it up on snopes, as if consulting a ouija board to verify fact from fiction.

But the proprietors of Snopes have exposed a political agenda that misdirects inquisitors to an agenda of the criminal globalist elite.

BE ADVISED - It is a tool of misdirection, omission, and deception.


embitca profile image

embitca 4 years ago from Boston Author

Pretty sure you are insane.

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