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Hoaxes, Scams, and Rumors in the News: February 4, 2013

February 4th, 2013 | Add a Comment

Here is a roundup of today’s top stories involving hoaxes, rumors, and scams as they come across our desk here at Wafflesatnoon. This page will be updated throughout the day.

Updated Feb 4 2012, 2:07pm PST

Hanging Puppy Photo Resurfaces
One of our most popular articles in 2011 investigated the “Hanging Puppy Photo” and today we are seeing an uptic in traffic to that story. It appears the photo is going around again today on Facebook.

Fake Ed Asner Facebook Page Fools Theater
A Facebook page under the name of “Lou Grant” claimed that Ed Asner would double any donations to a Pittsburgh-area theater seeking funds.  The theater didn’t question the page until Asner’s publicist claimed the pledge to be a hoax and that the actor doesn’t even have a Facebook page.

Muhammad Ali’s Daughter Debunks Rumor Ali Near Death
After a British tabloid posted a story that boxing legend Muhammad Ali was near death, Ali’s daughter May May Ali contacted the Associated Press to set the story straight. Ali was doing fine and spent his Sunday watching the Super Bowl.

Coast Guard Offers Reward for Fake Mayday Caller
The U.S. Coast Guard is offering a $3,500 reward for help in finding a man who called in 20 fake “mayday” calls. Coast Guard officials are releasing a snippet of the man’s voice in hopes someone will recognize him. The fake mayday calls have come in over a two-year period, and the man claims in these calls that his boat is sinking.

Fake Kidnapping Exposed
A teen couple hatched a plot to extort money from her parents by calling them and claiming she was kidnapped. Police traced the calls to the boyfriend’s address and the plot fell apart.

Acid Attack Hoaxter Writing Book
A woman who claimed to have been attacked by acid, only to admit later that she burned her own face with drain cleaner, is writing a book about the 2010 hoax called “Facing the Truth.”

Filed under: Current Events

View the original article here

Debunking the McDonald’s “Black Tax” Photo

February 4th, 2013 | Add a Comment

Have you seen a photo which claims that a McDonald’s restaurant wanted to charge African-American customers a $1.50 tax for insurance purposes? The image is fake.

The image is believed to have originated from the 4chan message board in 2010, and went viral briefly in the summer of 2011 on Twitter with the hastag #seriouslymcdonalds briefly trending in response. It still occasionally pops up again on various social networks.

The image itself reads:

Please Note:
As an insurance measure due in part to a recent string of robberies, African-American customers are now required to pay an additional fee of $1.50 per transaction
Thank you for your cooperation.

McDonald’s took the time to address the photo with tweets on the matter:

June 11, 2011: That pic is a senseless & ignorant hoax McD’s values ALL our customers. Diversity runs deep in our culture on both sides of the counter.June 12, 2011: That Seriously McDonalds picture is a hoax

It should also be pointed out that the phone number listed on the image is not even a McDonald’s number, but in fact belongs to KFC.

Images such as this one, even when completely debunked, end up finding their way back to prominence. So it’s certain that at some point this photo will gain momentum again. If you see someone sharing it, drop a link to this article in the comments to set them straight!

Filed under: Hoaxes & Rumors

View the original article here

Kai the Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker Video

February 6th, 2013 | Add a Comment

A video trending today shows the animated story of Kai the homeless hitchhiker who came to the rescue of two women attacked by a man claiming to be Jesus Christ.

In the original news story (below) we hear the story of a man who picked up a hitchhiker to whom he claimed to be Jesus Christ, and suddenly ran over a worker in the area. He then jumped out of the car and began attacking two women nearby who tried to help the victim. That’s when Kai the hitchhiker took out a hatchet and hit the man on the head three times, as he described, “Smash… smash.. SU-MASH!”

The bizarre story and Kai’s colorful description of the event are a recipe for a video gone viral.

If you want to see more of Kai, here is a full (uncensored) 5-minute interview with him.

Commenters have compared Kai to a real life Joe Dirt or Jeff Spicoli. What do you think of Kai and this bizarre story?

Filed under: Entertainment · Tags: Humor

View the original article here

Did Obama Hold a Phone Upside Down for a Photo Op?

February 6th, 2013 | Add a Comment

A photo shows President Obama talking on a phone, apparently not realizing that he is holding it upside down. Is the photo real or fake?

The image is fake.

The photo was posted apparently as a joke during the 2008 Presidential Primaries, when Obama and Hillary Clinton were in a tight race for their party’s nomination. Let’s take a look at the image in question, which has been circulating since the 2008 election:

As the story often circulated with the photo goes, Obama was posing for a photo op and didn’t realize he was holding the receiver upside down. A popular caption reads:

When you are faking a pose for a photo opportunity with the American Flag… at least get the handset turned in the right direction!!

A clock set to 3:00am was also added to the fake photo, referencing Clinton’s commercial running at the time, which questioned who you would want to be in the White House to take a 3am emergency phone call.

The original image, however, is much less juicy. It seems to have been snapped on November 28, 2007 in a story entitled “Obama and the Locals” with a caption that read, “Obama on the phone with local media in Iowa.”

You may also be interested in these articles:

Filed under: Hoaxes & Rumors · Tags: Obama

View the original article here

Hoaxes, Scams, and Rumors in the News: February 6, 2013

February 6th, 2013 | 1 Comment

Here is a roundup of today’s top stories involving hoaxes, rumors, and scams as they come across our desk here at Wafflesatnoon. This page will be updated throughout the day.

FDA Warns of Fake Cancer Drug
The FDA issued a warning that one batch of the cancer drug Avastin doesn’t contain the active ingredient in the real thing, which is used to treat cancers of the colon, lung, kidney and brain.

Facebook “Closed for Maintenance” Hoax
A new hoax spreading online claims that Facebook will be closing for maintenance from February 29-31. Since those dates don’t even exist, it is obviously just a poorly-conceived rumor, or perhaps a joke to see who wouldn’t notice the bogus dates.

America’s Toughest Sherrif Victim of Credit Card Fraud
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio found out that his Discover card had been used to purchase nearly $300 in groceries thousands of miles from where he lives. At first the lawman said he wouldn’t press charges if the perpetrator was needy, but later decided it was organized and said, “…whoever’s doing this should go to jail for 100 years.”

Chris Brown Instagram Rant a Hoax
A rant posted online by singer Chris Brown, in which he angrily defended himself and his legal team, wasn’t by Brown after all, according to the singer’s rep.  Though many believed the instagram diatribe was real, his rep said, ”It’s fake. He currently doesn’t have an Instagram.”

Updated Feb 6 2012, 3:10pm PST

Filed under: Current Events

View the original article here

CLA Side Effects

February 6th, 2013 | Add a Comment

Conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, is a popular supplement often advertised as a way to build muscle fast. It has other possible benefits as well, such as anti-cancer properties, fat loss, and lower cholesterol. But today we’re taking a look at some of the known and rumored side effects of CLA.

This article is being written as a supplement to our article on a CLA product called C9-T11, which is one of many such CLA products on the market. This following list contains some of the more commonly-known side effects of conjugated linoleic acid. These are the more serious of the possible side effects.

Possible Side Effects

DiarrheaFatigueInsulin resistanceLiver healthStomach upset
Anecdotal Side Effects

The following possible side effects are based on anecdotal reports only. It is also possible that some of these may decrease over time with continued use. If you experience any of these, try ingesting protein along with CLA, as these acids are are mostly found naturally in meat and dairy products. Acid RefluxFatigueHeadacheHeartburnIndigestionNauseaThirst

Other Considerations

Diabetes: Avoid CLA if you have diabetes because CLA may worsen symptoms. CLA may also increase risk of getting diabetes if you have metabolic syndrome or are significantly overweight.Cholesterol: While CLA is known to lower cholesterol, this includes good cholesterol, too.Allergic Reaction: It is also possible in rare cases to have an allergic reaction to CLA, so look for hives, itching, or other symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Have you experienced any side effects from CLA not mentioned here? Let us know in the comments below.

Further Reading:
C9-T11: Miracle Supplement or Marketing Ploy? 

Filed under: Health

View the original article here

The Burger King Horse Meat Scandal

Today we’ll look into the the scandal that rocked the fast food world, as Burger King admitted that some of its burgers in fact did contain horsemeat.

The story is true, but it only occurred in the U.K.

Once the initial story broke, Burger King denied that horsemeat was used in its burgers. The company, however, had to retract those denials when their own tests revealed “trace amounts” of horse meat in their burgers.

How did it get there?
At this point it appears that the horsemeat came from a non-approved Polish supplier of meat to Silvercrest, who is a meat processing facility.

Burger King Admission
Burger King released the following statement:

“Our independent DNA test results on product taken from restaurants were negative for any equine DNA. However, four samples recently taken from the Silvercrest plant have shown the presence of very small trace levels of equine DNA. Within the last 36 hours, we have established that Silvercrest used a small percentage of beef imported from a non-approved supplier in Poland. They promised to deliver 100% British and Irish beef patties and have not done so. This is a clear violation of our specifications, and we have terminated our relationship with them.”

This popular image has been circulating on social media.

Timeline of Events

January 15 - A report from Ireland’s food safety monitors showed some burgers sold in the UK that were described as beef also contained horsemeat. Burger King was not implicated, but Silvercrest was named in the report.January 18  - “No evidence” of horsemeat contamination in Burger King meat claimed. Tesco stores pull 10 million burgers from shelves.January 20 – #horsemeat trends on Google PlusJanuary 24 – Burger King drops Silvercrest as a supplier for “precautionary” reasons and again stated there was no evidence that their meat had been tainted.January 26 – Burger King announced that they will stop selling all burgers with meat supplied by Silvercrest.January 30 – Food Standards Agency reports that the horsemeat originated in Poland.January 31 – Burger King admits horse meat has been found in their burgers.

Burger King’s Facebook page is riddled with “horse meat” comments, even on posts pre-dating this event.  Virtually every post has as many horse-related comments as anything else.

Was Burger King at Fault?
We want to know if you feel that the backlash is fair. Should Burger King have known that their supplier was using unapproved sources for meat? Should they have been more proactive as the story was breaking? It appears that their early denials, which could have been based on their early tests, are a big point of contention for some.

Bottom Line
Burger King admitted on January 31, 2013 to selling hamburgers in the U.K. which contained horsemeat. The story is still evolving, but Burger King’s reputation has certainly taken a hit even beyond the geographic boundaries of this incident.

View the original article here

The Facebook “Closed for Maintenance” Hoax

February 6th, 2013 | 2 Comments

A warning circulating on Facebook states that the social network will be closed for maintenance for three days later this month. We’ll take a look at the story a little further.

It’s a hoax.

First let’s take a look at the warning itself. Though according to Sophos, the warning appears to have started in Frech, there is an English version being passed around:

WARNING!! Facebook will be closed for maintenance from February 29th to 31st!! Facebook wants YOU to Share this message with at least 15 of your friends for the best chance of alerting everyone. Many people will try to log in from February 29 to 31, just to find the site closed down for those days with no warning.

This date doesn’t exist.

Impossible Date
Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of the calendar and month of February knows February 30 and February 31 do not exist. Further, February 29 only exists every 4 years, and this isn’t one of those years.

Facebook Maintenance
Facebook has given no such “down for maintenance” announcement.

Bottom Line
This is either a poor attempt at a hoax, or a successful attempt at a joke.  Either way, it’s not real.

Filed under: Hoaxes & Rumors · Tags: Facebook

View the original article here

The Waffles Week in Review: Week 5, 2013

Today we’ll take a look at the most popular stories here at Wafflesatnoon over the 5th week of 2013. We’ll take a look at the most significant stories each day, including the most popular story overall, the most popular on social media, and the most viewed new articles.

Tuesday, January 29
Our most viewed and most shared story on Monday was the “Staying Privately Connected” Facebook hoax which continued to surge throughout the week. An article on how to spot fake online profiles was our most popular new story.

Wednesday, January 30
As the “Privately Connected” Facebook hoax dominated yet again on Wednesday, we also posted about a fake Amber Alert that has been circulating for years.

Thursday, January 31
Once again, the “Privately Connected” Facebook hoax took the top spot, and our story about the rumor about President Obama being indicted was a popular new entry.

Friday, February 1
The Obamacare RFID chip story surged on Friday, while the “Staying Privately Connected” Facebook hoax maintained it’s spot as the most shared story. Today we also took a look at the product known as The Total Transformation.

Saturday, February 2
The Obamacare RFID chip story and  ”Staying Privately Connected” Facebook hoax continued as most read and most shared. We also investigated the Applebee’s story of a customer leaving a snide message on a receipt.

Sunday, February 3
The weekend ended as it began, with the Obamacare RFID chip story and  ”Staying Privately Connected” Facebook hoax continued as most read and most shared. We also looked into a bizarre new rumor about Justin Bieber taking codeine.

Monday, February 4
The 5th week of 2013 ended with one of our most popular stories of 2011 surging, that of the “Hanging Puppy” photo. This photo resurfaces every few months, and this week was one of those cases. Today we also looked into the photo of a “Black Tax” imposed by McDonald’s.

Stories of the Week
The “Staying Privately Connected” Facebook hoax was clearly the most read and shared story of the week, while our article on the alleged indictment of President Obama was the most popular new story of the week.

View the original article here

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