When I get e-mail messages that don’t smell right, the web site I check first is the Urban Legends site at About.com. You’re likely to find solid information about any e-mail chain letter that comes your way, as well as the hundreds of virus hoaxes that continue to travel from mailbox to mailbox. Research messages before you forward them!

The Urban Legends Reference Pages at Snopes.com also deserve a look. Instead of focusing on e-mail legends, this site is broader-based, covering urban legends of all kinds.

You know what urban legends are, right? Those tales of uncertain origin that grow in the telling? Rental trucks are being stolen by terrorists! There’s HIV-infected needles in pay phone change slots! Bill Gates is tracking your e-mail! Forwarding a message to your 25 closest friends will help find a missing child! These web sites make fascinating reading. Here’s the ultimate urban legend, by the way.

There’s links to the reference sites on my Web Favorites page, in the “Internet” section.

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