Take your information from respected experts in the field, think it over, and then trust your own wisdom and intuition.
Keep in mind that passing on e-mails with upsetting untrue information can generate a great deal of unnecessary fear in the lives of people you care about. By refraining from passing it on, you are taking positive action.
Regardless of the topic, if you receive an email with some kind of dire story, check it out before you pass it on!
Do some research. It's very simple and quick to do so.
Go to http://www.urbanlegends.com and to http://www.google.com Do a search for the key word - and take a look at the articles you'll find.
I've included a couple of examples, but it's very easy to do this yourself. The two most common subjects seem to be personal safety and computer viruses.
One email you may have received is the one about the lives of women or children in some dreadful circumstances. You're asked to send an email to a specific address to protest and help change things there.
The horrifying information given about the lives of women and children in many countries is sadly true. Accounts of what is going on in some places read like something out of the middle ages. But even when things start changing, the old emails still keep going around.
One e-mail about Afghanistan was started by a woman several years ago who had no idea of the power of the web. Her university's computers were swamped, the email address was deactivated, and any email you send will just disappear into the electronic void.
Another common message claims that there is a new drug. Progesterex, that is essentially a small sterilization pill. The e-mail says that this drug is now being used by rapists at parties to rape AND sterilize their victims. In fact, there is no such drug. There is a real date-rape drug of course - Rohypnol - used to make someone drowsy or unconscious. But even with that, there is a bit of good news. (from the Village Voice) "Hoffman-La Roche has recently modified Rohypnol to make it more recognizable in drinks. The new pills turn drinks bright blue. If the drink is dark, look for a cloudy appearance. They also take longer to dissolve and form chunks."
Of course, that doesn't mean that you can ignore the potential danger of this drug. It's still potentially dangerous to accept a drink from someone else, or to leave a drink unattended. And there are still huge amounts of Rohypnol around in the older tasteless, colorless form. We recommend that people not consume drinks they have left unattended at parties.
The bottom line is…