Is That Really True or is it a Hoax? Eight Places to Find Out


Can you believe everything you read on the Internet? Of course, Gizmo’s readers know that you cannot – not by a long shot. Many things you see are obviously a hoax or a scam. But sometimes it isn’t all that clear whether something is true or not. Fortunately, there are some websites devoted to keeping the facts straight. So, when you want to know whether something is just a con, an unfounded rumor, or made-up story, here are some places to go.

General hoaxes, myths, scams, and rumors

  • Urban Legends (Snopes)
    This site has been researching “urban legends” since 1995 and is one of the best known of its type. All sorts of subjects, not just Internet material, can be found here.
  •  Hoax Busters
    A very large collection of Internet hoaxes can be found here. This is another site that has been around for quite a while.
  • Hoax Slayer
    Site for checking out email hoaxes and scams.
  • Federal Trade Commission scam alerts
    US government list of scams of all sorts. Not limited to the Internet.
  • Stop Scams & Frauds
    A US government site with information about how to identify and report scams and frauds.

Virus hoaxes

A type of hoax that has caused trouble for many people involves fake reports about computer viruses. Many anti-malware software vendors have sites that report on these fakes. Here are several.

And there you have it - next time a friend or relative has an email that says Bill Gates might give him some money, send him to one of these sites.

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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's, guides, and tutorials, including a site for learning about Windows and the Internet and another with Windows 7 tips.

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It's been ages since I've seen a proper virus hoax. Of course, fake antivirus pop-ups, phishing scams, and the like are common enough, and of course antivirus programs generate false positives on occasion. But an actual hoax message saying "don't do this thing, it's a virus" ? Has anyone seen one of those in the last few years?