The Internet is awash with attempts to fool you. Some want money for a get-rich-quick scheme, others warn of viruses that don't even exist. Here are some tips to avoid falling for a hoax:
- Don't believe everything you read, even if it comes from someone you know.
- Make it a rule to never buy from an unsolicited ad. You might break this rule once, for a very good deal that's from a reputable source, but in general don't fall for gimmicks or instant-sales, and don't reward the spam senders!
- For virus hoaxes, check the online libraries of Symantec or McAfee to make sure the virus is real. You can also check the known hoaxes listed at McAfee.
- Don't pursue links that come from an email message promising a "cool site" or further information, unless you really really trust the source. Some of these links lead to web sites that will deposit adware/shareware on your computer, or do other damage to your browser and/or computer.
- Don't open attachments, even from someone you know, unless you are very very sure it is legitimate. Contact the sender when in doubt.
- If an email asks you to forward the message to everyone you know it's a hoax, or at the least a chain letter. Either way, don't fall for it and don't send it to anyone else.