Any warning not coming from a reliable news source should be suspected as a hoax. My natural philosophy is to not believe any warning until I independently verify it with a second source I trust. That source could be an antivirus site, a computer magazine’s site, or an Internet security site. If you see any of the following themes in a warning message, immediately suspect it as a hoax message.
There are several common themes that run through most hoax messages:
Every email I’ve ever received that began with, “This is not a joke!” has been a hoax. Legitimate sources don’t need to claim otherwise.
Hoax warnings are full of entire phrases or sentences with every letter capitalized and lots of exclamation points. The authors use capitalization for panic effect. Typically, you’ll see the scariest parts of the message in all capitals. Three exclamation points at the end of a sentence are supposed to indicate that the authors are really serious.
This VIRUS is VERY, VERY SERIOUS! THERE IS NO REMEDY!!!!!!!!!! If you see the email DELETE IT!!!!!!!!! DON’T READ!!!!! Please pass this on to everyone you know! PASS IT ON QUICKLY and TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE!!!
Reality check: the hoax authors want to really, really embarrass you by increasing the number of apologies you will have to send out later. Everyone knows that capitalizing everything is the same as screaming. Antivirus companies ...