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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Don't Believe Everything that you Read on the Internet

I received the following email recently:

AFL or NRL ? Guess

36 have been accused of spouse abuse
7 have been arrested for fraud
19 have been accused of writing bad cheques
117 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses
3 have done time for assault
71, repeat 71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit
14 have been arrested on drug-related charges
8 have been arrested for shoplifting
21 currently are defendants in lawsuits and
84 have been arrested for drunk driving in the last year

Can you guess which organization this is? AFL? NRL?



Give up yet? . . . .... Scroll down




Neither, it's the 535 members of the AUSTRALIAN PARLIAMENT IN CANBERRA


The same group of Idiots that crank out hundreds of new laws each
year, designed to keep the rest of us in line.

This ties in nicely with the general dislike of politicians, so lots of people will be happy to believe it. Sadly the claims aren't true. This post isn't really about playing the spoil sport and ruining a good story with the facts . My aim is to foster skepticism about claims that are made on the Internet.

As soon as I read the email I was suspicious, as I was sure that there weren't 535 members of the Australian Parliament. I pasted the following
number of members in australian parliament
into google and found a number of sites including this one.

So there are 150 members in the House of Representatives and 76 in the Senate making a grand total of 226 members of the Australian Parliament.

With this information the claims in the email are clearly absurd - 51% of members have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses or 31% cannot get a credit card due to bad credit?

So where did the "information" in this email come from?

I selected most of the text of the email and pasted it into google?

The site at this link was the fourth in the Google list.

A quick perusal of this site shows that the "information" in the email originated in the United States. It also shows that the info is dubious in a US context.

The person who adapted these claims to an Australian context clearly knew that the claims made were not true, as they made four changes to make the claims appear to relate to Australia.

If you have any opinion as to the motivation of someone to make and spread such hoaxes, leave a comment by clicking on "Post a Comment" at the bottom of this post.

There are many of these email hoaxes circulating, here are a few that I have received recently:

the Nine Zero Hash Phone Scam hoax

the 1954 Home Computer hoax

the Mars bigger than the Moon hoax

the Remus Rudd hoax

the Oliver North warns about Osama Bin Laden hoax

the Mohammed Atta released hoax

the Mall Celebration of 9/11hoax

the Baby in car seat hoax

the Budweiser Celebration of 9/11 hoax. I checked the local paper The Bakersfield Californian and found this article that supports the claim that the email is a hoax - scroll down to the last 6 paragraphs of the story.

the Black in the Whitehouse hoax. Here is confirmation that this is a hoax from the anti-virus company McAfee.

the Cigar Arsonist. The email that I received claiming that this story was true was headed You Can't Make this Stuff Up!, unfortunately it is clear that it was almost certainly made up. A song called The Cigar Song has been written about this scam.

the Nokia Mobile Draw scam. I recieved the following text message:
YOUR MOBILE NUMBER HAS WON YOU $ 2,MILLION IN THE NOKIA MOBILE DRAW UK.FOR CLAIMS, EMAIL US: (Ticket: BAN101Q/NAME/LOCATION): nkprom@live.com, Call: +447035959397
I was immediately suspicious and when I googled the message I found this site which confirmed my impression that this was a scam text.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well researched. I agree that many people simply accept what is on the internet, in the news or in a book without questioning it.
Cheers
Jumelle 2

marianne said...

Well done I also felt it was a rather nasty post and to send as email. I don't believe what is out there in this sort of rubbish
kind regards Marianne Agnello

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