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Question: Telling the difference between real and fake viruses

I sometimes get emails telling me about a virus that may have infected my computer, and information about how to remove it. Someone else told me that some of those messages are hoaxes, or urban legends, and I should ignore them.

But how can you tell the difference between the real and the fake messages?


The simplest rule of thumb is, ignore email messages you receive warning you about viruses. Probably 99.9% of them are fake anyway, and for that .1% that is real, your AntiVirus software has been updated to deal with the virus long before you get an email about it.

If you have doubts, always check out virus information at an AntiVirus website such as or On either of those websites you can run a search for the virus name to find out if it exists.

Also, you can visit a site such as to find out if it is an urban legend, or if it is true.

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