Find Out if That E-Mail is Really a Hoax

Your cell phone number is about to be handed over to telemarketers.

Carjackers are sticking flyers on rear windows so they can grab the car when drivers step out to remove the flyers.

Microsoft will pay you $245 for every person you forward an e-mail to.

False. False. False.

It continues to amaze me how many people will blindly forward these and other wild claims to friends and family members. I've received more than I care to count, and no matter how earnest the latest come-on ("This really happened to a friend of mine!"), I know that 99.9% of them are false.

That's because I'm a regular visitor to Snopes.com, which catalogs and debunks the hundreds of Internet hoaxes and urban legends that continue to make the e-mail rounds.

The next time one of these often-amusing, sometimes-frightening messages lands in your inbox, copy the subject line, head to Snopes, then paste the subject into the search field.

When you reach the page that shows the "False" nature of the legend, copy the URL, return to the e-mail, click Reply All, and paste it in. (I like to add something like, "Don't believe everything you read!", just so I can feel extra smug.)

In other words, break the chain, people! Stop forwarding this nonsense to people you supposedly care about. Yes, I'm talking to you, Mom.

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