EDITOR’S NOTE: This blog post offers absolutely no spiritually redeeming qualities. It’s just information I thought it important to share.
Bogus pleas and appeals for support flood the Internet. Unfortunately too many unsuspecting folks take them for legitimate and pass them along to their friends and email lists.
NEVER EVER pass on any plea or “urgent” info you receive in an email from someone you do not know personally or a message you read on Facebook. Especially if passing them on means forwarding them.
If you don’t know the original writer of the email or plea on Facebook, it is likely a scam or fraud or trick. If you think there’s a 1 in 1,000,000 chance the plea or “urgent” message, google a legitimate news source to verify its authenticity. If it’s a big a deal as your email claims, you’ll find a legitimate story about it on a legitimate news site.
We may know friends personally who use Facebook as a means of reaching friends for support or prayers in a difficult time. In some cases they will direct readers to support or funding websites like “GoFundMe” or “Crowdrise“.
There is no accounting for the naivete of the email universe or Facebook friends. Years after Madalyn Murray O’Hare‘s body was discovered, I received an occasional email claiming she was behind getting “In God We Trust” removed from U.S. currency, or outlawing display of the Ten Commandments.
Folks think something “sounds” legitimate so they forward it to all their contacts.
WARNING: I’ve been told that forwarded emails are a prime target for hackers who infect a single email account with a virus in a forwarded message. Then they forward the virus-infected email to the senders entire email list.
A good rule of thumb I’ve always been advised to use is this: If you don’t know the originator of the email, don’t open it. Delete it, then empty your trash.
How can you tell if an Internet plea is bogus?
1. It’s on Facebook. Some friends you know personally sometimes use a Facebook page to garner support or prayers for their family, for example, the Cindy Martinez Facebook page. Facebook is plagued with fake pleas, phony news and false ads for products and free offers.
The sender asks you to pass it on–That’s an iron clad sign of a bogus plea
2. The email makes vague, outrageous claims, such as, “The government is afraid that this might be another terrorist act. They will not announce it in the news because they do not want to create panic and aid the terrorists.”
3. They encourage you to “pass on” this phony post to your friends.
4. A major U.S. company is making an official announcement. Major companies do not use social media to announce major business decisions. Many companies have started using Twitter more to update followers on company information, but they don’t make major legitimate corporate decisions on social media.
A good rule of thumb I’ve been told is: If you don’t know the originator of the correspondence, either on social media or in an email, 1) Don’t open it; 2) Delete it.