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Forward this to 500 of your friends???

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004 by | Filed Under: E-Mail Help

Forward this to 500 of your friends???

Will boycotting gasoline from Shell, Chevron, Texaco, Exxon, and Mobil cut off funding for terrorists?

I’m sure that you’ve seen this, or other chain email in your inbox. If it weren’t for all the gross statistical errors and the naive grasp of oil industry economics exhibited in it, this email might actually have some validity. According to the good folks at the Urban Legends Reference Pages : “many people come away from reading it with the mistaken impression that most of the USA’s crude oil is imported from the Middle East… according to the most recent figures regarding crude oil imports, only 31% of the USA’s imports came from Arab OPEC countries.”

Is the government going to start charging a five cent tax on every e-mail we send out?

NO! Not even in Canada.

I’ve been getting lots of people mindlessly forwarding around this old hoax again. So, if you get something in your inbox that says the government is considering bill 602P to place a 5 cent tax on e-mail, inform the sender that it’s a hoax (and please don’t send it to me:-) I’ve also seen a Canadian version.

Which brings me to my point. Just because something comes in your e-mail doesn’t automatically make it true (well, unless it’s from me :-) Before you forward it to everyone in your address book, do five minutes of research.

For example, when I first saw this e-mail tax a few years ago I was understandably worried. However, before I sent out a copy of the e-mail to thousands of people, I went to a search engine and typed in the bill number, 602P.

In less than a minute, I discovered it was nothing but a hoax. There is no bill 602P.

Also, just FYI, Disney and Bill gates aren’t giving away free vacations, there are no little girls dying of cancer who get a dollar for everyone you forward their message to, and, no, you aren’t going to have a terrible accident if you stop forwarding chain letters. (Just so you know, it’s impossible to track forwarded e-mail, so when you see something that claims to do it, it’s automatically a hoax.)

And please don’t forward them “Just in case it’s true”. Sending stuff like this around is the equivalent of having an internet “kick me” sign hanging off your back.

There are a few great places to check the facts:

The Urban Legends Reference Pages

Truth or Fiction

US Department of Energy CIAC

(Whew, I feel better :-)


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