Hoaxes and scams on the internet

Computer keyboard keys with danger sign with words Internet Hoax, Danger of Internet Hoax

Computer keyboard keys with danger sign with words Internet Hoax, Danger of Internet Hoax

Yesterday I fell for a hoax and did a post on it. It happened to me once before so I always do a check online to see if there is more than one website with a similar story. Additionally if I am unsure I will go to the website Snopes as they write about hoaxes and scams on the Internet.  In the case of the post I wrote yesterday, there was nothing about it on Snopes so I thought I was okay. What I should have noticed was that none of the websites that carried the same story were mainstream media sites.

Here are a few of the hoaxes and scams that are  currently circulating that I found on Snopes.

Often a hoax or scam starts with a fake tweet on twitter.

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Other scams use a real situation such as a water crisis to spread panic.

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Other hoaxes use real interviews to give their lies credibility.In this case, Politicops started with a real comment that Eric Trump made on a radio show explaining how Hispanics “couldn’t wait” for his father to become president and then added some false comments.

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Eric Trump did not say that his father would send Hispanics “back to Asia.” Politicops, is a “hybrid” web site that publishes a mixture of news and fiction. It is sites like this one that makes it extra hard to verify stories. A satire site is clearly a satire site but a mixture of news and fiction can easily confuse readers.On the site readers can push a button to find out which stories are true but if they are posted on social media and then spread, the ability to check the truth of the ‘news’ story is lost.

Some Hoaxs are started when a person uses social media when angry and by the time the truth comes out the story has gone viral.

On 17 May 2016, Facebook user Robert Horsley shamefully contributed to the canon of “shunned serviceman” tales (i.e., accounts of Muslim gas station or convenience store proprietors supposedly denying service to U.S. military personnel) when he claimed that the “Muslim” manager of Coosa Mart on Highway 31 in Pelham, Alabama, refused to allow him to use the business’ restroom:

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An Alabama veteran who claimed he was denied access to a Pelham gas station’s restroom by the manager, who he identified as Muslim, has now apologized.

The apology comes days after Satyam Patel, the owner of the Coosa Mart on Highway 31 in Pelham denied the Horsley’s allegations.

“I am the manager of Coosa Mart,” he wrote on Facebook. “The message (Horsley’s message) posted below is not true. This event never happened. We have been in business for 10 years. We treat all customers with respect, and we are proud of the Veterans who have served our country. We have never told any customers to ‘get lost.’ We are not Muslim. Everyone is welcome in our store.”

Patel [said] that he immigrated to Alabama from India in 1992 and he became a naturalized citizen.

His attorney [said] that the gas station’s bathroom is reserved for employees only.

…Despite having acknowledged he was wrong and publishing an apology, Mr. Horsley has still not seen fit to delete the original misleading Facebook post that started the whole controversy




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  • Boondecker

    That’s cool, SB. At least you made the necessary corrections and required clarifications. I imagine some news sources won’t as naively they don’t ever want to been seen to be pulling to wool on their fair-weather subscribers for fear of losing them. I’d rather have a credible explanatory retraction than a quiet pushing under the carpet any day of the week.

    By coincidence I went looking further into this one and saw it was being pulled apart as a con in the US from both the left and right over there. The thing that got me wondering if it was legit right off the bat was the distinct lack of any other info on the person at the center of the allegations.

  • oldmanNZ

    FB is full of hoax, people spread it knowly it is hoax as true..unfortunately people fall for it as its from their “friends” so assume true.

  • Dan

    I think we have all fallen for a hoax at some time. One problem is that in this fast paced world, we read and digest a lot of material. Sometimes, we can skim over a hoax article and move on, but then not realise that the hoax article has since apologised. But we, who do not go back to check on the story again, can blurt out the gist of the hoax, along with everyone else and …. you get the idea.

    And it only takes three to turn a false story into false reality.
    Person A hears a rumour
    Person A tells Person B
    Person B at a later stage repeats back to person A, maybe with a slight alteration.
    Person A thinks this is confirmation.