Forward This Blog To Everyone You Know

Just a few minutes ago I received an email from a friend:

90# on your telephone

I dialed ‘0’ to check this out, and the operator confirmed that this was correct, so please pass it on.. (l also checked out snopes.com. This is true, and also applies to cell phones!)

PASS ON TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW

I received a telephone call last evening from an individual identifying himself as an AT&T Service Technician (could also be Telus) who was conducting a test on the telephone lines. He stated that to complete the test I should touch nine (9), zero (0), the pound sign (#), and then hang up.  Luckily, I was suspicious and refused.

Upon contacting the telephone company, I was informed that by pushing 90#, you give the requesting individual full access to your telephone line, which enables them to place long distance calls billed to your home phone number.

I was further informed that this scam has been originating from many local jails/prisons. DO NOT press 90# for ANYONE…

The GTE Security Department requested that I share this information with EVERYONE I KNOW.

After checking with Verizon they also said it was true, so do not dial 90# for anyone !!!!! PLEASE HIT THAT FORWARD BUTTON AND PASS THIS ON TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW!!!

Anyone who’s been around the internet, or even been receiving email, for any amount of time will immediately recognize this for what it is: an email hoax.

Even without the parting admonition “PLEASE HIT THAT FORWARD BUTTON AND PASS THIS ON TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW!!!
“, there’s plenty of internal evidence that “Delete”, and not “Forward”, is the button you need to push.

For starters, the message is not signed. Who wrote it? Who got the call from AT&T (or Telus, the Canadian telecommunications provider; apparently the author isn’t sure where they live)? How would someone in many local jails/prisons get their phone number? Are prisoners now allowed to willy-nilly wander around and make random unsupervised phone calls? Okay, maybe they can, but still… And GTE’s Security Department wants one person to share this information? If it’s that big a deal, why doesn’t GTE get the word out? Oh, yeah…they haven’t been around since 2000.

I hate getting these things in my inbox, for the simple reason that people I know forward them to me, and it despairs me to think I have friends gullible enough to believe those sorts of letters. My sister used to forward three or four a week to me.  By way of reply, I’d forward her to the appropriate Snopes page debunking the info in her forwarded messages, and add as a signature, “If you get an email asking you to pass it on to everyone you know, it’s probably bullshit.” Eventually she wised up and started asking me before forwarding anything on, and finally stopped cluttering people’s inboxes with that kind of junk altogether.

It’s one thing to make a family member feel a little foolish, but I have no particular desire to be derisive to certain friends, even if they should know better. This doesn’t, however, include my damn fool co-worker who forwards me variations of “Obama is not a citizen!” emails every other week. I did Snopes back a reply to the current forwarder of the 90# letter, but I think for general purposes I’ll just post the following, as it appears at About.com:

Here’s How To Spot An Email Hoax:

  1. Note whether the text you’ve received was actually written by the person who sent it. Did anyone sign their name to it? If not, be skeptical.
  2. Look for the telltale phrase, ‘Forward this to everyone you know!’ The more urgent the plea, the more suspect the message.
  3. Look for statements like ‘This is NOT a hoax’ or ‘This is NOT an urban legend.’ They typically mean the opposite of what they say.
  4. Watch for overly emphatic language, as well as frequent use of UPPERCASE LETTERS and multiple exclamation points!!!!!!!
  5. If the text seems aimed more at persuading than informing the reader, be suspicious. Like propagandists, hoaxers are more interested in pushing people’s emotional buttons than communicating accurate information.
  6. If the message purports to impart extremely important information that you’ve never heard of before or read elsewhere in legitimate venues, be very suspicious.
  7. Read carefully and think critically about what the message says, looking for logical inconsistencies, violations of common sense and blatantly false claims.
  8. Look for subtle or not-so-subtle jokes — indications that the author is pulling your leg.
  9. Check for references to outside sources of information. Hoaxes don’t typically cite verifiable evidence, nor link to Websites with corroborating information.
  10. . Check to see if the message has been debunked by Websites that debunk urban legends and Internet hoaxes (see below).
  11. . Research any factual claims in the text to see if there is published evidence to support them. If you find none, odds are you’ve been the recipient of an email hoax.

Tips:

  1. Virtually any email chain letter you receive (i.e., any message forwarded multiple times before it got to you) is more likely to be false than true. You should automatically be skeptical of chain letters.
  2. Hoaxers usually try every means available to make their lies believable — e.g., mimicking a journalistic style, attributing the text to a ‘legitimate’ source, or implying that powerful corporate or government interests have tried to keep the information from you.
  3. Be especially wary of health-related rumors. Most importantly, never act on ‘medical information’ forwarded from unknown sources without first verifying its accuracy with a doctor or other reliable source.

Now, forward this blog to as many people as you can, so we can start keeping our inboxes clear of this crap!!!

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