I did something today that I very rarely do: I forwarded an e-mail without vetting it. I only passed it on to about 12 people; but the penetration isn't at issue, rather the veracity of the e-mail's claim is. I like to be the "buck stops here" guy when it comes to e-mails making baseless claims. Today I happened to be in the middle of something when the e-mail in question arrived. It contained a link to a Web site that, at a glance, appeared legit. It supported the e-mail, and I dug no deeper. I gathered a few names from my contact list of friends who I thought might either be impacted by the information or just might be interested, and forwarded the e-mail.
In short order I had responses from a couple of them who had seen the claims this e-mail was making before and had researched them. They quickly set me straight. The claims weren't totally bogus; but on a scale of 1 to 10, they were a 2 or 3 at best. Not close enough for me.
It's a bit embarrassing at the least. I am the first one to say that any chucklehead with a keyboard and an uplink to the Internet can post anything. When I read something particularly outrageous that has been forwarded to me, and it's something that is so outrageous that I should have heard it before, I usually spring into action checking it out. This was one of those outrageous claims, that if true, should have been circulating long before now. My little inner voice whispered that as I hit the "send" key; I wish it had screamed it!
In any event, the episode was a reminder never to take anything forwarded via e-mail at face value. Check it, check it, check it.