<—- Click the “Rumors” link in the left column to return to this page.
Misinformation circulates easly on the Internet and at Life Church we don’t want rumors to get any help from us!
Please don’t spread rumors and do not use Life Church email lists for rumors, hoaxes, urban legends, or chain letters.
Three Simple Rules For Rumors
When that “urgent” email arrives in your inbox, these 3 simple rules will keep you out of trouble:
- Stop and think!
- Check it out – Look it up in Google or in Snopes.com!
- If you don’t have time to check it out, don’t send it!
These simple rules can save you from a great deal of embarrassment! If you learn to follow them you’ll be in pretty good shape. If you want more information about this wide-spread internet problem however, feel free to keep reading.
From time to time you may receive emails warning you about some urgent problem and encouraging you to pass the warning on to everyone you know. These “electronic rumors” can spread widely and may cause unnecessary panic and even harm. Because email is so easy to redistribute, both true and false information circulates on the internet very quickly.
Very often, just when you think you are providing helpful information to your friends and loved ones, you are actually misleading them and spreading confusion – something that none of us wants to do!
The best way to handle one of these emails is: Stop – don’t forward it to anyone!That’s right – just leave it alone! In fact, if you can just pull off this simple act of self-control, you don’t have to read any further – we’re done!
It may be that you can’t bring yourself to just stop and leave it at that. Perhaps you’re concerned that this time the fate of everyone you love depends on them knowing what’s in the email. Well, if you can’t stop at stop, the next step is think!
By asking yourself questions and doing some research before hitting that “send button”, you can help minimize the level of false information in circulation.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Does the email make sense?
- Does the person who sent the email know for certain that what’s in it is true? Relying on someone who relies on someone who relies on someone else can leave you in a shaky position.
- Does the person who sent the email have enough expertise to verify what’s in the email? Beware of “False Attribution Syndrome“!
- Does the email provide some easy way to check it for validity. Is there a name of a person or organization or a phone number? If so, call them.
- Can you think of some simple way to check out the information? Perhaps a local or federal agency? A newspaper? Try asking one or two other folks you know if they can help.
- If you do decide to distribute the email make it clear to all of the recipients whether or not you did any independent checking and what you discovered.
- If we send you any such email. Don’t take our word for it! Check it out for yourself!
- If you don’t have the time to check it out, don’t be in a hurry to send the email out. Wait until you have time to investigate. If something is a really serious and urgent issue, it will probably find its way to the rest of the internet without you, so don’t feel as if you’re the only one who can get the information out.
OK – You took time to stop and think about that email. You still want to save the world by forwarding it to everyone you kow, but now you realize there’s a chance that it might not be legit. It’s time to check it out!
Research the Information
One way to get quick information about warnings that you get via email is to use an internet search engine such as Google, Yahoo, and Alta Vista. Enter some of the text from the email and see what comes up.
You can also check out the following sites to see if the email you received has already been recognized as a hoax.
- Break the Chain: Stop Junk E-Mail and Misinformation This web site was set up to educate and inform people about chain mail circulating on the internet.
- Sophos Email and Virus Hoax Information
- Hoax Busters
- Scambusters – Urban Legends
- Snopes.com – Urban Legends Reference Pages
- Urban Legends and Folklore
- Vmyths.com – Truth About Computer Virus Myths & Hoaxes Lot’s of good information and web links.
- Wikipedia List of Urban Legends