Snopes Founders: People Are Suckers

Please, stop falling for that Nigerian scam

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 5, 2010 12:55 PM CDT

(Newser) – The founders of Snopes.com started out investigating the origins of urban legends like the serial killer with a hook for a hand; 14 years later, their site is a major source of information for people seeking the real story behind political rumors. “When you’re looking at truth versus gossip, truth doesn’t stand a chance,” Barbara Mikkelson tells the New York Times; husband David adds, “People keep falling for the same kind of things over and over again.”

Those “things” commonly involve moneymaking scams or swine flu vaccine rumors, but the site took a turn for the political after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, when the Mikkelsons were barraged with email forwards from concerned users. Rumors about President Obama are now the site’s top searches. “Especially in politics, most everything has infinite shades of gray to it, but people just want things to be true or false,” David says. “In the larger sense, it’s people wanting confirmation of their world view.”

The Snopes.com logo.
The Snopes.com logo.   (Snopes.com)
Snopes.com examines the Nigerian scam.
Snopes.com examines the Nigerian scam.   (Snopes.com)
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