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   TOP10.Subject: Gullibility Virus alert (fwd)
   WARNING, CAUTION, DANGER, AND BEWARE! Gullibility Virus Spreading
   over the Internet!
   WASHINGTON, D.C.--The Institute for the Investigation of Irregular
   Internet Phenomena announced today that many Internet users are
   becoming infected by a new virus that causes them to believe without
   question every groundless story, legend, and dire warning that shows
   up in their inbox or on their browser. The Gullibility Virus, as it is
   called, apparently makes people believe and forward copies of silly
   hoaxes relating to cookie recipes, email viruses, taxes on modems, and
   get-rich-quick schemes.
   "These are not just readers of tabloids or people who buy lottery
   tickets based on fortune cookie numbers," a spokesman said. "Most are
   otherwise normal people, who would laugh at the same stories if told
   to them by a stranger on a street corner." However, once these same
   people become infected with the Gullibility Virus, they believe
   anything they read on the Internet.
   "My immunity to tall tales and bizarre claims is all gone," reported
   one weeping victim. "I believe every warning message and sick child
   story my friends forward to me, even though most of the messages are
   anonymous." Another victim, now in remission, added, "When I first
   heard about Good Times, I just accepted it without question. After
   all, there were dozens of other recipients on the mail header, so I
   thought the virus must be true." It was a long time, the victim said,
   before she could stand up at a Hoaxees Anonymous meeting and state,
   "My name is Jane, and I've been hoaxed." Now, however, she is
   spreading the word. "Challenge and check whatever you read," she says.
   Internet users are urged to examine themselves for symptoms of the
   virus, which include the following:
   The willingness to believe improbable stories without thinking;
   The urge to forward multiple copies of such stories to others;
   A lack of desire to take three minutes to check to see if a story is
   D.S. is an example of someone recently infected. He told one reporter,
   "I read on the Net that the major ingredient in almost all shampoos
   makes your hair fall out, so I've stopped using shampoo." When told
   about the Gullibility Virus, D.S. said he would stop reading email, so
   that he would not become infected.
   Anyone with symptoms like these is urged to seek help immediately.
   Experts recommend that at the first feelings of gullibility, Internet
   users rush to their favorite search engine and look up the item
   tempting them to thoughtless credence. Most hoaxes, legends, and tall
   tales have been widely discussed and exposed by the Internet
   Courses in critical thinking are also widely available, and there is
   online help from many sources, including
   2]Department of Energy Computer Incident Advisory Capability
   3]Symantec Anti Virus Research Center
   4]McAfee Associates Virus Hoax List
   5]Dr. Solomons Hoax Page
   6]The Urban Legends Web Site
   7]Urban Legends Reference Pages
   8]Datafellows Hoax Warnings
   Those people who are still symptom free can help inoculate themselves
   against the Gullibility Virus by reading some good material on
   evaluating sources, such as
   Evaluating Internet Research Sources at Evaluation of
   Information Sources at
   Bibliography on Evaluating Internet Resources at
   Lastly, as a public service, Internet users can help stamp out the
   Gullibility Virus by sending copies of this message to anyone who
   forwards them a hoax.
   This message is so important, we're sending it anonymously! Forward it
   to all your friends right away! Don't think about it! This
   is not a chain letter! This story is true! Don't check it out! This
   story is so timely, there is no date on it! This story is so
   important, we're using lots of exclamation points! For every message
   you forward to some unsuspecting person, the Home for the Hopelessly
   Gullible will donate ten cents to itself. (If you wonder how the Home
   will know you are forwarding these messages all over creation, you're
   obviously thinking too much.)

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