Snopes urban legend posts

Helene WATCH OUT NEW AREA CODE SCAM Costly NEW AREA CODE: READ AND PASS ALONG 809 Area Code We actually received a call last week from the 809 area code. The woman said 'Hey, this is Karen. Sorry I missed you- get back to us quickly. I have something imp Read more ... ortant to tell you.' Then she repeated a phone number beginning with 809 We did not respond. Then this week, we received the following e-mail: Do Not DIAL AREA CODE 809, 284, AND 876 from the U.S. or Canada THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION PROVIDED BY AT&T. DON'T EVER DIAL AREA CODE 809 This one is being distributed all over the US ... This is pretty scary, especially given the way they try to get you to call. Be sure you read this and pass it on. They get you to call by telling you that it is information about a family member who has been ill or to tell you someone has been arrested, died, or to let you know you have won a wonderful prize, etc. In each case, you are told to call the 809 number right away. Since there are so many new area codes these days, people unknowingly return these calls. If you call from the U.S. or Canada , you will apparently be charged a minimum of $2425 per-minute. And you'll also get a long recorded message. The point is, they will try to keep you on the phone as long as possible to increase the charges. WHY IT WORKS: The 809 area code is located in the Dominican Republic The charges afterward can become a real nightmare. That’s because you did actually make the call. If you complain, both your local phone company and your long distance carrier will not want to get involved and will most likely tell you that they are simply providing the billing for the foreign company. You’ll end up dealing with a foreign company that argues they have done nothing wrong. Please forward this entire message to your friends, family and colleagues to help them become aware of this scam. AT&T VERIFIES IT'S TRUE: SNOPES VERIFIES IT'S TRUE:
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2 days ago
Louise (Lecture Alert) Guys, if you're going to "Share" something and you're not sure of its veracity, can I suggest checking it out on Snopes first? Something came up yesterday about an ancient city found in central Aust. It wasn't listed on Snopes as Read more ... a hoax, so I used their form to send a query with the URL of the article. This is the reply they emailed me within 24hrs: "World News Daily Report is a humor site. It publishes sensational fiction for entertainment purposes, not real news stories." I'll be the first to admit I'm guilty of Sharing stuff that turned out to be wrong, but now that I know about Snopes, it's easier to avoid that mistake. It only takes a minute to check facts before you share things. (End of lecture) Urban Legends Reference Pages
The definitive Internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation
5 days ago
Victoria Wife and Death Claim: An 8-year-old Yemeni girl was forced to marry a 40-year-old man and then died of vaginal injuries on their wedding night. UNDETERMINED Example: [Collected via e-mail, September 2013] Is this true? An 8 year-old Ye Read more ... meni child bride, a mere girl, recently died on her wedding night from internal hemorrhaging. She was married to a man five times her age. As disgusting as the tradition of marrying off children to much older men is, it is common practice in Yemen. More than a quarter of the female population are married before the age of 15. Origins: In September 2013, the Kuwaiti daily Al Watan (citing a local Yemeni newspaper called Al Mashhad) reported that an 8-year-old girl named Rawan had died of internal hemorrhaging related to vaginal tearing the night after she was married to a 40-year-old man in northwestern Yemen. That story was then picked up and spread internationally by English-language news media: An eight-year-old Yemeni girl has died of internal bleeding on her wedding night after marrying a man five times her age, a social activist and two local residents said, in a case that has caused an outcry in the media and revived debate about child brides. Arwa Othman, head of Yemen's House of Folklore and a leading rights campaigner, said the girl, identified only as Rawan, was married to a 40-year-old in the town of Meedi in Hajjah province, north-western Yemen. "On the wedding night and after intercourse, she suffered from bleeding and uterine rupture which caused her death," Othman said. "They took her to a clinic but the medics couldn't save her life." Othman said authorities had not taken any action against the girl's family or her husband. Shortly afterwards, the Dubai-based Gulf News ran a story stating that Yemeni law enforcement officials had investigated the report and denied there was truth to it: Mosleh Al Azzani, the director of Criminal Investigation in Harradh district where the marriage was thought to have taken place, said that he personally sent for the girl and her father to question them about the incident. The girl's name is Rawan. "When I heard the rumours, I called the girl's father. He came with his daughter and denied the marriage and death of his daughter. I have the photos of the girl and will show it to anyone." The official said that the girl was eight years old and her father was in his late 40s. "The man moved to Haradh 20 days ago. He is the father of Rawan, another married daughter, and a son. I am ready to call them again if any journalist wants to investigate this issue." he said, adding that he did not receive any information from the local hospital about the death of the girl. Aziz Saleh, a journalist who runs a local website, said that he contacted the local authority’s office who denied the news. "All of them maintained that neither the marriage nor death had taken place," he said In the capital, Ahmad Al Qurishi, the head of SEYAJ Organisation for Childhood Protection, an independent NGO that advocates children's rights, said that government and judicial officials in the province of Hajja denied the information about the marriage and death. "I got in touch with the director of Criminal Investigation, Hajja's prosecutor and the province's security chief who all flatly denied the story," he said. Al Qurishi said that his organisation conducted its own investigation into the issue by sending some activists to the area. "The preliminary results show that the story was untrue." The journalist who initially reported the story maintains it is true and is being covered up by officials, however: The journalist who wrote the controversial story insisted that his story was correct and based on the accounts of the girl's neighbours. Mohammad Radman, a freelance journalist from the province, commented on the officials' denial by saying that the girl's neighbours told him the girl was dead and buried. "They are willing to give their testimony on this issue. I think the officials are trying to bury the story." he said. Two Meedi residents contacted by Reuters confirmed the incident and said tribal chiefs had tried to cover up the incident when the news broke, warning a local journalist against covering the story. Last updated: 6 June 2014 Urban Legends Reference Pages © 1995-2014 by This material may not be reproduced without permission. snopes and the logo are registered service marks of Sources: Al Batati, Saeed. "Wedding Night Death of Girl, 8, Denied in Yemen." Gulf News. 9 September 2013. Blake, Matt. "Yemeni Child Bride, 8, Dies of Internal Injuries on First Night of Forced Marriage." Daily Mail. 9 September 2013. Toumi, Habib. "Bride, 8, Dies of Injuries on Wedding Night in Yemen." Gulf News. 8 September 2013. The Guardian. "Yemeni Child Bride, Eight, 'Dies on Wedding Night.'" 11 September 2013. Reuters. "Child Bride in Yemen Dies of Internal Bleeding on Wedding Night." 10 September 2013. Read more at 8 Year-Old Yemeni Child Bride Dies of Internal Injuries
Report claims an 8-year-old Yemeni girl was forced to marry a 40-year-old man and then died of vaginal injuries on their wedding night.
5 days ago
Sylvia – The website Snopes recently derived sharp criticism from members of the Christian faith after publishing an article that declared the life and death of Jesus Christ as little more than an ancient bamboozle. However, many Christian re Read more ... aders were mightily offended by having their personal Lord and Savior filed away among the Nigerian 419 scams and chain letters warning against the dangers of psychotropic toads. Online Christian communities have already begun calling for the site’s boycott, calling the article in question “Unnecessary and extreme sacrilege.” I spoke with Lisa Mears of the popular Christian forum “Rejuvenation In His Name Ministries” who had the following to say: “Snopes wants to claim my Heavenly Father is some sort of hoax? Some urban legend? We’ll just see how much debunking they’ll be doing while burning in HELL!”
8 days ago
Adamson There's often some truth to every urban legend that appears on Snopes such as this one regarding driving in the rain with cruise control. Bottom line, the tale that went around a few years ago was a little erroneous but you still are safer NOT using Read more ... cruise control in wet conditions.
Why You Shouldn’t Use Cruise Control in the Rain
The next time you find yourself behind the wheel of car in a rainstorm, be sure to disable cruise control. If you end up hydroplaning, your cruise control can make it a lot more dangerous.
10 days ago
Christopher So everybody is freaking out (again) about the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. For clarification, we go to the website famous for investigating Urban Legends... Snopes. Is Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte Full of Toxins?
Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte drink is full of dangerous toxins.
11 days ago
Laura ok peeps…this is from SNOPES on FB and messenger app. It's a heavy heavy amount of reading BUT if you want to know what they say, read on. Laura Facebook Messenger Claim: Use of the Facebook Messenger app requires user acceptance of many pri Read more ... vacy-violating conditions. GREEN LIGHT- MIXTURE Example: [Collected via e-mail, August 2014] There are many articles circulating about all the privacy incursions of Facebooks new messenger app but I don't think they could all be true. Origins: In mid-2014 Facebook rolled out the Facebook Messenger app, a standalone version of that social network's instant chat feature which users accessed separately on their mobile devices (i.e., without launching the full Facebook app). That rollout prompted renewed interest in a December 2013 article by Sam Fiorella (circulated widely in August 2014) warned potential Facebook Messenger users that the app's Terms of Service (TOS) "requires the acceptance of an alarming amount of personal data and direct control over your mobile device": Facebook's Messenger App, which boasts over 1,000,000,000 downloads, requires the acceptance of an alarming amount of personal data and, even more startling, direct control over your mobile device. I'm willing to bet that few, if any, of those who downloaded this app read the full Terms of Service before accepting them and downloading the app. If you're one of those 1,000,000,000 people who have downloaded this app, take a moment to read the following. I've posted, word for word, a few of the most aggressive app permission you've accepted. Allows the app to change the state of network connectivity Allows the app to call phone numbers without your intervention. This may result in unexpected charges or calls. Malicious apps may cost you money by making calls without your confirmation. Allows the app to send SMS messages. This may result in unexpected charges. Malicious apps may cost you money by sending messages without your confirmation. Allows the app to record audio with microphone. This permission allows the app to record audio at any time without your confirmation. Allows the app to take pictures and videos with the camera. This permission allows the app to use the camera at any time without your confirmation. Allows the app to read you phone's call log, including data about incoming and outgoing calls. This permission allows apps to save your call log data, and malicious apps may share call log data without your knowledge. Allows the app to read data about your contacts stored on your phone, including the frequency with which you've called, emailed, or communicated in other ways with specific individuals. Allows the app to read personal profile information stored on your device, such as your name and contact information. This means the app can identify you and may send your profile information to others. Allows the app to access the phone features of the device. This permission allows the app to determine the phone number and device IDs, whether a call is active, and the remote number connected by a call. Allows the app to get a list of accounts known by the phone. This may include any accounts created by applications you have installed. As others such as the Washington Post noted, however, many of these permission requests are neither uncommon nor unreasonable and aren't really much different or more onerous than the permissions required by the main Facebook app itself: In Facebook’s defense, there are plenty of legitimate reasons for requesting these permissions. Messenger needs access to your camera, for instance, so that you can send pictures, and few people would want to confirm microphone access every time they use the app to place a call. These kinds of sweeping permissions are also extremely common — probably to a degree you don’t realize. Even the most vanilla apps collect extraordinary amounts of personal data: WeatherBug requests permission to view your Wi-Fi network and other devices connected to it; RunKeeper wants permission to read your contacts and call log; even the Kim Kardashian game, which is all the rage these days, logs your location, your device ID, and your incoming calls. As with Messenger, the Kardashian game may have a valid reason to know when you get phone calls. (For instance, to save your spot before a call interrupts gameplay.) Yes, [the permission requests are potentially "insidious," but so are WhatsApp, Viber, MessageMe and virtually every other popular messaging app, all of which request comparably creepy permissions. On my insidiousness scale, at least, that ignorance of the devices and programs we use every day probably ranks higher than one overreaching app. According to Facebook themselves, "the concerns about its Messenger app are overblown and based on misinformation," as the Wall Street Journal reported: Much of the problem, Facebook says, is due to Android's rigid policy on permissions. Facebook says it doesn't get to write its own, and instead must use generic language provided to them by Android. The language in the permissions "doesn’t necessarily reflect the way the Messenger app and other apps use them," Facebook wrote in a Help Center article designed to address what it calls misinformation on the topic. Facebook also says the quotes in the [Sam Fiorella] article are outdated. Facebook says it has more control over the permissions language it uses in Apple iOS operating system, which handles the process differently. Android users must agree to all permissions at once, before using the app, for every feature an app might use. On iPhones, users agree to the permissions when they come up during the normal use of the app. For instance, if an iPhone user never makes a voice call with Facebook Messenger, the app might never ask for permission to use the phone’s microphone. While Android app users must agree to all permissions before using the app, iPhone users can decline to give permission to the app for some features, like access to the address book and microphone, but still use the app to send messages. Due to this, the iPhone version of the app is superior for particularly privacy-conscious users. Regardless of the permissions, both the Android and the iOS Messenger apps are subject to the data use policies and terms that govern all Facebook users and every app within the Facebook family. The bottom line is that, while some users might think it’s a drag to download a separate app for a feature that was once included in a single app, they’re not actually giving up a significant amount of additional privacy in the process. The brouhaha over Facebook Messenger's Terms of Service does highlight a couple of important issues with the apps many of us use these days. One is that "free" products are not truly free — someone has to pay for their development, deployment, and maintenance, and that funding is commonly accomplished these days by serving up ads to users. But advertisers want to be able target and personalize their ads to specific groups of viewers, and that targeting requires knowledge of information about users such as their geographic locations, age, browsing habits, and the like. Providing this information is the trade-off we engage in as "payment" for the acquisition and use of free apps. Another issue is that nearly all of us blindly accept the Terms of Service presented to us when we buy or download software without reading them, and that the TOS are becoming so increasingly lengthy that most of us simply couldn't read, understand, and process them if we wanted to. A 2008 study found (as summarized by techdirt) that it would take the average person about a month of working time out of each year to just "read all the privacy policies you encounter on a daily basis" (exclusive of Terms of Service): [A] report notes that if you actually bothered to read all the privacy policies you encounter on a daily basis, it would take you 250 working hours per year — or about 30 workdays. The full study by Aleecia M. McDonald and Lorrie Faith Cranor is quite interesting. They measure the length of privacy policies, ranging from just 144 words up to 7,669 words (median is around 2,500 words) and recognize that at a standard reading pace of 250 words per minute, most privacy policies take about eight to ten minutes to read. They also ran some tests to figure out how long it actually takes people to read and/or skim privacy policies. They put all of this together and estimated that it would normally take a person about 244 hours per year to read every new privacy policy they encountered ... and even 154 hours just to skim them. And, here's the thing: that's only for privacy policies. Imagine if you read terms of service and end user license agreements too ... Whether Facebook Messenger's TOS are truly "insidious" or not, Sam Fiorella warned that if users are willing to accept TOS as lengthy and involved as Facebook Messenger's without reading them, app developers might be "emboldened" to include even more potentially invasive conditions in future TOS: If this many people have not read the Messenger Terms of Service (or have read it and don't care), how emboldened will mobile developers be in the future? I understand the nature of "free" mobile apps. I'm prepared to give up some personal data for the right to access a game, content, or social network for free and to have an improved advertising experience while enjoying that free service. However, Facebook has pushed this too far. It's time we stood up and said "no!" As exemplified by this comment and answer exchange between Sam Fiorella and a reader, all of this concern highlights a common modern dilemma: In order for apps to do what they need to do efficiently, they need to be granted a variety of accesses and permissions by users. Do we accept that such access will not be used for malicious purposes (by either the developers or unauthorized third parties), or do we give up ease of use in exchange for more cumbersome protections? Oh for crying out loud... [Facebook Messenger] needs permission to record audio & video so that you can send an audio or video message. It can't do it without you asking it to. It can make calls if you ask it to because it links your facebook and local contacts lists. It absolutely CANNOT do these things without YOU initiating them! It needs the permission in advance so that when you ask it to do these things, they WORK. Thanks for the comment. I would agree that it's not Facebook Messenger's intention to record audio or take a photo without being initiated (e.g., taking/adding a pic to a text msg) but once you give permission for the app to do so automatically, what's to stop a hacker or other app from doing so? We have too much blind faith ... that's the point I'm trying to make. Last updated: 8 August 2014 Urban Legends Reference Pages © 1995-2014 by This material may not be reproduced without permission. snopes and the logo are registered service marks of Sources: Albergotti, Reed. "Facebook Messenger Privacy Fears? Here’s What You Need to Know." The Wall Street Journal. 8 August 2014. Dewey, Caitlin. "Yes, the Facebook Messenger App Requests Creepy, Invasive Permissions." The Washington Post. 5 August 2014. Fiorella, Sam. "The Insidiousness of Facebook Messenger's Mobile App Terms of Service." The Huffington Post. 1 December 2013. techdirt. "To Read All of the Privacy Policies You Encounter ..." 20 April 2012. Read more at Facebook Messenger
Does use of the Facebook Messenger app require user acceptance of many privacy-violating conditions?
12 days ago
Theresa Update: 30 August 2014 Hello again from snopes, where we shed light on the wild tales you've heard! This e-mail gives information about new articles recently added to the web site and provides pointers to older p Read more ... ieces about rumors and hoaxes still wandering into everyone's inboxes. If after this update you are left wondering about something newly arrived in your inbox, our search engine stands ready to assist you. Bookmark that URL — it's a keeper! And now to the legends, the mayhem, and the misinformation! New Articles Facebook appeals calls for justice for a young girl injured in a playground incident. Is notorious mom Casey Anthony pregnant with twins? Rumor claims most of the $100 million raised from ALS 'Ice Bucket Challenge' donations won't go to ALS-related research and services. Has rapper Tupac Shakur, thought to have been killed in 1996, come out of hiding? Brouhaha over Zara clothiers offering children's pajamas resembling concentration camp uniforms. Does a video show a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup infested with maggots? Are undocumented immigrants allowed to fly on US airlines with no identification? Will McDonald's Happy Meal boxes come with Ouija boards? Has a nail polish been developed that can detect the presence of date rape drugs? Will AMC's Breaking Bad be returning with new episodes? Does Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte contain dangerous toxins? Were a bevy of tax increases quietly imposed upon Americans in July 2014 due to the Affordable Care Act? Has the CDC intentionally suppressed reports of vaccine-related cases of autism from reaching the public? Did President Obama break precedent by declining to attend the funeral of General Harold Greene and failing to send any administration officials to the ceremony? Does the use of cellular phones pose a danger of touching off explosions at gas stations? Was George Zimmerman arrested while visiting Ferguson, Missouri? Did the governor of Iowa charter a flight to summarily return 124 undocumented children to Honduras? Contrary to social media reports, Sylvester Stallone has not been killed in a car accident in Australia. Was a man in Ireland killed by the bite of a deadly redback spider? Photographs show Muslims praying in the streets of New York City. Don't forget to visit our Daily Snopes page for a collection of odd news stories from around the world! Worth a Second Look Did a bank once accept and cash a check written on the side of a cow? Still Haunting the Inbox Check out our 25 Hottest Urban Legends list to keep abreast of what's circulating in the on-line world. Fraud Afoot Visit our Top Scams page for a list of schemes commonly used by crooks to separate the unwary from their money. Admin Stuff View the latest edition of the newsletter online. Please note that the e-mail address is an administrative address used only for mailing weekly updates to subscribers. All mail sent to this address is automatically deleted. If you wish to change your subscription information or unsubscribe, please use the links provided at the bottom of every newsletter mailing. If you wish to find information on a particular topic, please use the search engine. Our What's New page and our 25 Hottest Urban Legends page are also handy places to check whenever you receive something questionable in your inbox. Other inquiries and comments may be submitted through the "Contact Us" form at Urban Legends Reference Pages © 1995-2014 by This material may not be reproduced without permission. snopes and the logo are registered service marks of
15 days ago
Lisa Checked Snopes. Urban legend.
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Congratulations to San Francisco on becoming the w
21 days ago
Carol Islamic Agenda Claim: Photograph shows a sign bearing an ominous threat from the "Advancement of Islamic Agenda for America." FALSE Example: [Collected via e-mail, August 2014] This photo was posted on Facebook, with a descriptio Read more ... n saying it was a sign outside of a Dearborn Michigan Mosque. I suspect it is a case of hateful photoshopping! Can you verify if this photo is legit? Origins: This photograph of an outdoor sign has been identified in social media postings as belonging to a mosque (or some other Islam-associated administrative building) with the cumbersome title of "Advancement of Islamic Agenda for America." The sign advertises to viewers that organization's ominous threat "AMERICA WE WILL KILL YOU ALL AND NOTHING YOU CAN DO TO STOP IT," bracketed by invocations of the exaltation "ALLAH BE PRAISED." Neither the sign nor the organization is real, however. The photo is a fake created using the Church Sign Maker, a web site that allows users to create realistic-looking images of church signs bearing messages of their choosing: Ever seen those signs in front of churches with the moveable letters? Ever wanted to rearrange the letters to make your own church sign? Well, now you can. Choose a design below, add your text, and a personalized church sign photo will be created for you! Save it, send it to a friend, put on your website, or use it however you like. Enjoy! Note: these church signs aren't real, they don't exist in the real world. You'll be making a fake photo of a church sign. In this case the "Advancement of Islamic Agenda for America" sign is clearly an altered version of the Church Sign Maker's "Classic Design #5" offering (as indicated by the identical nature of the two signs' sizes, shapes, and background objects in their photos): Last updated: 21 August 2014 Urban Legends Reference Pages © 1995-2014 by This material may not be reproduced without permission. snopes and the logo are registered service marks of Read more at 'Islamic Agenda' Sign
Photograph shows a sign bearing an ominous threat from the 'Advancement of Islamic Agenda for America.' Is it real?
23 days ago
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