True or False?

  • Facebook is going to start charging a fee for usage.
  • President Barack Obama was born in Africa and not in the US.
  • The I.R.S. might call and demand payment for a tax bill that you didn't know about.
  • The holocaust was an elaborate hoax.
  • U.S. Servicemen need your financial help in order to return home.
  • Your grandchild/relation is being held in a Mexican prison unless you are willing to pay for his/her release.
  • President Trump tweeted that community college is not really college.
  • A Nigerian Prince needs your help and will reward you handsomely.
  • Microsoft needs to get inside your computer remotely to remove a virus that they have found.

How many of these have you seen or heard of?  How many are actually true?  The answer is NONE, but you SHOULDN'T believe me.  You should do your own research and find out if any of the above are true.

It's been said before and needs to be said again:  just because it's out there on the internet doesn't make it true.  Furthermore, just because you heard it from a friend doesn't mean it's true.

A reality of the 21st century is that scammers and rumormongers are out in force.  And they'll prey upon you naiveties, gullibility and your good heartedness.  It's not right.  It's not fair.  But it a fact of life.

There are some things you might want to consider when you hear/see news or "discover" a new "fact". 
  • What is the source of the news?  There are lots of fun satiric and comedic websites out there that run funny articles.  They are well written, but they are not true.  (Nor do the good ones claim to be.)  
  • Is the information from a reputable source?  Or better yet, it is from MULTIPLE reputable sources?  (Even the best news outlets have been known to get in wrong on occasion.)
  • Is the information just part of a bigger story or not completely accurate?  For example, there has been some discussion that Facebook is CONSIDERING charging members who opted out of seeing advertisements; kind of like a reverse pay per view.  The news is NOT that Facebook is suddenly going to charge you for use (and if you do x or y and share with 10 friends it won't happen.) The news is that is something that is under consideration and there is a possibility. Just because something is in discussion or is being researched, doesn't mean it's going to happen.  And if it IS happening it's not something that would happen overnight!
  • If it's personal (a loved one being held in jail, the government demanding you pony up money), don't assume it's necessarily true.  Check the phone number (although they can be spoofed too).  Check with expects.  (When your loved one tells you he/she needs money right away and not to tell mom or dad, it's a good time to call mom and dad.)  Does everything make sense?
  • Does it seem too good or too fantastical?  It might just be.   The old saying, "if it sounds too good to be true, it is," came about for a reason. Think before sharing.
We live in a fast paced information age.  We want to share news.  We want to warn our friends about "bad" things.  We want to let them know about "good" things.  It's human nature.  BUT...we need to be cautious.  We shouldn't rush into things; as much as we may want to.

Share news, share stories, but be responsible.  Stop.  Check.  And when YOU are satisfied that what you want to share is on the up and up...go for it!

And if you want to share this post, I'd be grateful.  But I will be honest; nothing wonderful is going to happen if you do.    (Other than the good feeling I might get from knowing you've read this post.)  There will be no cute pictures or rewards.  Well there is the reward of my thanks, but...


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