Category Archives: Internet hoax

Photo of the ‘Syrian Boy’ Sleeping Between the Graves of His Parents


Myself By T.V. Antony Raj


A little boy from Syria sleeping between the graves of his parents. (Photo by abdulaziz_099)
A little boy from Syria sleeping between the graves of his parents. (Photo by abdulaziz_099)

If you regularly visit your social media pages, you would have certainly come across this photo of the little Syrian boy covered by a blanket purportedly sleeping between the graves of his parents.

This heartrending image is a fake and is not related to the current happenings in Syria. However, the image went viral on the net because many people appropriated it on social networks to reflect the tragic situation in Syria without knowing it was a fake that originated not from Syria, but from Saudi Arabia.

One source claims  it has been viewed over a million times on Imgur. It evoked lots of sympathy. Here are some comments I came across on Reddit:

  • I think the part that got me right in the heart is the fact that he looks peaceful and happy. Like nothings wrong. God damn it, I just made it worse.
  • He must have already seen some horrible things, and it seems he is now in peace, sleeping next to his mommy and daddy. Even if they aren’t alive anymore, they are still his source of comfort. This is sad on so many levels.
  • The more you think about it the deeper it goes until you’re looking down at the planet saying, wtf!
  • ****. Why’d you have to call them “mommy” and “daddy” that just makes it too real.
  • It’ll be a whole different world when he wakes.
  • This is actually the saddest picture I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen a lot of fucking morbid, disgusting, blood-soaked pictures and I’ve never batted an eye since I’m so desensitized to it, but I can barely hold in tears as I look at this one. What that kid has experienced is the epitome of non-physical human suffering. His parents aren’t coming back, man.
  • In the Middle East death is not something we’re not used to, unfortunately. Most simply embrace it due to how difficult life is.
  • I didn’t see peaceful and happy, I see a kid who doesn’t know what to do. His world is gone. I’m 40 and can’t stand the thought of losing my parents, and when they go I’ll be crushed. 8-ish years old? Jesus.
Photographer Abdul Aziz
Photographer Abdul Aziz al-Otaibi

Blogger Harald Doornbos claims he unearthed the truth behind the photograph by interviewing the photographer Abdul Aziz Al-Otaibi, a 25-year-old Saudi national and published it on his blog

According to Harald Doornbos, Abdul Aziz lives in Yanbu al Bahr, a major Red Sea port in the Al Madinah province of western Saudi Arabia, approximately 250 kilometers northwest of Jeddah.

As a keen photographer brimming with ideas, Abdul Aziz as a project wanted to depict the irreplaceable love of a child for his parents, even  if they are dead. So, three weeks ago, he drove to the outskirts of Yanbu with his nephew. There after piling stones to resemble two graves, he bade his nephew to lie between the two ‘graves’ and covered him with a blanket.

Abdul Aziz  Al-Otaibi has the following social media accounts:

He posted the photograph on Facebook. He made it very clear on Facebook that the graves were not real. He even published pictures of his smiling nephew seated next to the graves. Abdul Aziz told Harald Doornbos: “I also published the backstage story. I just wanted to be sure that people drew no wrong conclusions.”

Screenshot of Facebook page -abdulaziz_099
Screenshot of Facebook page -abdulaziz_099

Though Abdul Aziz posted this creation as an art work, an American Muslim convert posted the picture on his twitter account @americanbadu, that has over 187,000 followers. He claimed the picture was from Syria and suggested that the Assad-regime killed the parents of the sleeping boy.

The image spreads like wildfire. Hundreds of accounts, especially in jihad circles re-tweeted the picture from @americanbadu. An Islamic NGO from Kuwait, @Yathalema, with 175.000 followers tweeted the image. 

Even the Syrian opposition leader Ahmed Jarba failed to verify the authenticity of the image and tweeted it on Friday, January 17, 2014. He too did not fail to accuse Assad for the pictured boy’s wretched fate. Here is the image of Jarba’s tweet:


Jarba deleted the photo of the boy beside the graves about 30 minutes after posting it.

Harald Doornbos says: “By now the picture goes viral. Nobody checks if the image was indeed from Syria. I was the first reporter who called Al-Otaibi to ask.”

In the meantime, photographer Abdul Aziz Al-Otaibi complained via Direct Message (DM) to @americanbadu: “Why did you take my picture and claim it as an image from Syria? Please correct it.”

@americanbadu replied via DM: “Why don’t you just let go and claim it is a picture from Syria and gain a reward from God. You are exaggerating.”

Shortly after, @americanbadu removed his tweet. Nevertheless, the  irreversible damage was already done.




Beware of this “Goodnews” Email Scam!

Myself By T.V. Antony Raj


A week ago I received the following email which obviously is a scam.

The “to:” field is empty.

Does this statement: “Your Email ID makes you Lucky of sum pay out of 2,500,000.00 in NOKIA UK”, make any sense? The pay out is a mere 2,500,000.00 and in what currency?

This is the prelude message sent by a confidence trickster that asks for Personally identifiable information, similar to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation scam.

If you receive any similar letter I recommend you to ignore it and desist from replying, however tempting the “pay out” amount might be.


from:  Berlinda Eghuizen <>
date:  Tue, Sep 24, 2013 at 11:57 AM
subject:  Goodnews
Your Email ID makes you Lucky of sum pay out of 2,500,000.00 in NOKIA UK
Send Info: Name,Address and Tel No. To ( )

Is deze mail niet voor u bedoeld? Informeer dan alstublieft degene die de mail heeft verzonden. Verwijder het bericht en eventuele bijlagen en openbaar de inhoud niet aan derden.

This message is intended for the exclusive use of the person(s) mentioned as recipient(s) and may contain personal and/or confidential information. If you have received this message in error, please notify the sender and delete this message from your system immediately. Directly or indirectly copying, disclosing, distributing, printing, publicising and/or in any way using this message or any part thereof by any means is strictly prohibited if you are not the intended recipient(s).

Goodnews scam



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Beware of this “Microsoft Game Studios’ Microsoft Online Promotion” Scam

Myself By T.V. Antony Raj



On browsing through the mails I received sometimes back, I came across an email similar to the Ontario Lottery Corporation scam email; however, this time purporting to be from Microsoft.

It said, “Please Read Attached Letter…” with the following image attachment labeled “MGS Awarded You 810,000.00 USD”.

MGS Awarded You 810,000.00 USD

If you receive an email with an attachment similar to the above DO NOT RESPOND.


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Internet Photo Hoax: “Skeleton of Giant Found in India”


Myself By T.V. Antony Raj


Bhima's son Gadotkach-like skeleton found
Image courtesy IronKite

The above image of a giant’s skeleton is in fact a digital collage of three different photos created by a Canadian illustrator using the alias IronKite. It was placed third in a 2002 competition titled “Archaeological Anomalies 2,” run by Worth1000, a website that hosts contests for digital artists. The website asked contestants to create a hoax archaeological discovery.

Blogs, emails, and even a newspaper have used the above “photograph” to give credence and to substantiate their so-called reports that the National Geographic Society had discovered an ancient race of human giants in India.

Bhima's son Gadotkach-like skeleton found - 2

Recently, I came across the above image of a news item included in a YouTube video titled “RACE OF GIANTS found in India” uploaded by YTABUSESusers on December 15, 2008. This news, submitted by G. Subramaniam of Chennai, in a less known Indian newspaper called “Hindu Voice” looked dubious. It does not carry the date of publication.

In the article titled “Skeleton of Giant” Is Internet Photo Hoax” in National Geographic News, James Owen wrote: “An often cited March 2007 article in India’s Hindu Voice monthly, for example, claimed that a National Geographic Society team, in collaboration with the Indian Army, had dug up a giant human skeleton in India.”

Subramaniam reported:

“Recent exploration activity in the northern region of India uncovered a skeletal remains of a human of phenomenal size.” The story went on to say “The discovery was made by National Geographic Team (India Division) with support from the Indian Army since the area comes under jurisdiction of the Army.”

Hindu Voice magazineHowever, the monthly, “Hindu Voice,” based in Mumbai (Bombay), published a retraction after readers alerted its editor P. Deivamuthu to the hoax. The editor said: “We are against spreading lies and canards,” and he added “Moreover, our readers are a highly intellectual class and will not brook any nonsense.”

On December 14, 2007, James Owen for National Geographic News wrote: “The National Geographic Society has not discovered ancient giant humans, despite rampant reports and pictures.”

Canadian artist IronKite used this mastodon-excavation photo taken in 2000 in Hyde Park, New York as the basis for his entry in an online photo-manipulation contest

IronKite used the above photo taken in 2000 of a mastodon-excavation in Hyde Park, New York as the basis for his photo-manipulation.

In December 2007, he told National Geographic News that he digitally superimposed a human skeleton over the mastodon-dig photo. Later on, he added a man holding a shovel and re-colored his clothing to match that of the man in the above, authentic picture. The goal was to make the shoveler appear to be part of the excavation team. “To create the photo collage, I kept most of the wood frame from the dig site and replaced most of the muddy dirt with ground from the skeleton picture, using a fuzzy ‘brush’ to fade the two so no hard lines would be visible,” IronKite said.

Mastodon-excavation photo taken in 2000 in Hyde Park, New York
Though the above authentic photograph of the New York State mastodon excavation was not used to create the completed ‘giant’ skeleton image, it served as the foundation for the digital artwork.

Since 2004, this digitally manipulated artwork inspired unfounded reports of archaeologists unearthing a skeleton of an ancient human giant in India. IronKite, the Canadian digital artist, had nothing to do with the subsequent hoax.

Avi Muchnick who runs Worth1000, the web site that sponsored the photo-manipulation contests that inspired this fake photo said: “We have thousands of people who regularly create images like these in image-editing tools like Phoenix and Photoshop. So, it’s no surprise to us when some of these images get passed around the web as authentic depictions of actual events.”

James Owen wrote: “Variations of the giant photo hoax include alleged discovery of a 60- to 80-foot long (18- to 24-meter) human skeleton in Saudi Arabia. In one popular take, which likewise first surfaced in 2004, an oil-exploration team is said to have made the find. Here the skeleton is held up as evidence of giants mentioned in Islamic, rather than Hindu, scriptures.”




Dubious Posts in Social Media Mislead Society About Anti-rape Laws


Myself By T.V. Antony Raj


I have repeatedly said in my posts on my website “Impressions ~ of what comes to my mind” and in my Facebook page not to believe everything posted on social media websites such as Facebook. Here is one such post with dubious information that is  going viral on the social media:

Finally a new law passed

The above message that I came across recently on Facebook was an outcome of the Delhi gang rape of December 16, 2012 that incited people nationwide, from every strata of our civil society, to demand for strict anti-rape laws. Everyone started exploring the existing laws for punishing the rapists under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Currently, a flood of Short Message Service (SMS) and social medium posts carrying information about a “new anti-rape law” being passed are misguiding people, despite the disclaim by legal professionals and members of the judiciary to the contrary. Even educated folk presume that it is their bounden duty to circulate these erroneous messages to all their friends thinking that it is a major development with the country’s leaders finally caring about the female population in our society.

This Section 233  in The Indian Penal Code, 1860 has nothing to do with “Rape”. In fact, it deals with counterfeiting coins. It states:

Making or selling instrument for counterfeiting coin.– Whoever makes or mends, or performs any part of the process of making or mending, or buys, sells or disposes of, any die or instrument, for the purpose of being used, or knowing or having reason to believe that it is intended to be used, for the purpose of counterfeiting coin, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extended to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.



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Hoax: A 14-Year-Old Boy Was Shot Six Times By His Stepfather

Myself By T.V. Antony Raj


Here is a heart wringing message forwarded to me via Facebook.

Boy was shot 6 times by his step dad


Everyone with a sympathetic heart wants to help sick children to get better. The message about a little boy or girl suffering from some dreaded disease or infirmity certainly tugs the heartstrings of many. Even so, on the internet pranksters play upon these pathos for their personal odious amusement.

Search through the archives on the internet failed to turn up any news about shooting of any young man by his stepfather and his struggle for life in any hospital.

Lamentably, this message is a hoax.

This message  does not give the date and the place where this incident occurred nor does it mention the name of the hospital that takes care of the boy.

Similar appeals to save a young life began circulating first through e-mails and later as cell phone text messages and in social websites such as Facebook.

Here are two earlier versions of this hoax message.

Version #1:
Last friday 2-12-10 a 14 yr old boy was shot 6 times by his step dad. The boy was protecting his 2 yr old sister, in whom the step dad was atempting to rape. The young girl was not harmed, bc of that young mans courage & loyalty to his sister. The mom was at work during this time. The 14 yr old boy is now fighting for his life, and the doctors say he will not make it unless he has this life saving surgery in wich the boys mom cant afford. So At&t has agreed to donate $0.45 every time this msg is sent. So fwd & help save a life! (sic)

Version #2:
Last friday 2/12/10 a 14 y/o boy weas shot 6 times by his step dad. the boy was protecting his 2 y/o sistetr, whom the atep dad was attemping to rape. the young girl was not harmed because of that young mans courage and loyalty to his sister. The Mother was at work when this took place the 14 yr old boy “dominic james daggner” is now fighting for his life, and the doctor says he will not make unless he has life saving surgery in which the mother cant not afford. So, Verizon and AT&T have agree to donate $12.00 everytime this text is sent. (sic)

Both the above versions mention a date (2-12-10) when the shooting supposedly occurred. The second version even quotes a name for the victim as “dominic james daggner.

According to the current version of the message, an ante of 45 US cents would be paid by “Facebook Companies” for each forwarded message. In Version #1, cited above AT&T also offered the same amount per forwarded message. Version #2 of the message surpasses these two offers; it states that Verizon would pay a fantastic $12.00 as ante per forwarded message.

Since 1997, we have seen in circulation hoax emails appealing with phrases such as: “Forward this message to others and help fund medical care for a sick or dying child”. Invariably, these messages named a large charity as the benefactor stood ready to direct monies towards the costs of medical care for a child fighting for life. That trend continued into 2010.

The message “shot 14-year-old boy”, circulated on the web similar to the hoaxes that used the name of the American Cancer Society, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, or some other large social or business entity. The pranksters even roped in McDonald’s and Pizza Hut in the Justin Mallory hoax: “… epileptic in need of long-term care … ” and AOL and ZDNet in the Rachel Arlington hoax:  “… brain cancer sufferer in need of an operation …”

Do not immediately believe that whatever appears on Facebook or any other site on the web as 100% true. First, verify the news. If it is true, and you want to help, then give your money or your time.

Refrain from forwarding worthless messages to others. Well-intentioned forwarding of messages does nothing towards helping a sick child; however, it does make the day of the prankster who initiated the hoax.



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Société des loteries de l’Ontario Escroquerie


Click here for the English Version of this article titled: “Ontario Lottery Corporation Scam“.


Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

Aujourd’hui, j’ai reçu un email disant que je “ont gagné US $ 800.000 (HUIT CENT MILLE DOLLARS DES ETATS-UNIS), pourquoi vous avez gagné? Votre adresse e-mail a été choisi parmi ceux de notre basé sur Java un logiciel qui sélectionne de façon aléatoire les adresses électroniques à partir du Web à partir de laquelle les gagnants sont choisis. ”

Je comprends, ce message censé avoir été envoyé par un “Société des loteries» et autres semblables de «Canada Lottery Corporation” ont été flottant autour depuis le début de 2011. Néanmoins, il a pris un peu trop de temps à me joindre.

Disons simplement analyser ce courriel de “O.L.C. Conseilavec le sujet” MESSAGE DE L’ONTARIO CORPORATION. ”

1. Tout d’abord, cette lettre a bien évidemment été écrit par quelqu’un qui ne parle pas anglais natif. Exemple: why you have won?

2. Est-ce qu’un e-mail officiel de la Société des loteries contenir des erreurs comme celles-ci?

Your winning price is to the tune of …
Congratulations once again from all our staff’s …

3. Bien qu’il y ait une loterie légitime au Canada, il fonctionne de manière similaire aux loteries aux États-Unis, avec chacune des provinces qui vendent leurs propres billets. Mais pourquoi est-ce loteries de l’Ontario choisir les gagnants par e-mail?

4. Pourquoi la Société des loteries de l’Ontario de payer le prix en dollars américains?

5. Pourquoi la lettre vienne à moi comme un graphique au lieu du texte? Pour contourner les filtres anti-spam de cours.

Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) est une entreprise opérationnelle créée par le gouvernement de l’Ontario. OLG et ses sociétés affiliées emploient plus de 18.000 personnes dans toute la province. Ils sont responsables de 24 sites de jeux et de vente de produits de loterie à environ 10.000 points de vente à travers la province de l’Ontario.

C’est ce que j’ai trouvé sur leur site Web d’OLG en garde la population de ne pas devenir la proie de ces types d’escroqueries.

«Avez-vous reçu des courriels non sollicités, des lettres ou des appels téléphoniques vous demandant de payer des impôts ou des frais sur les gains de loterie? Lire les indicateurs de fraude ci-dessous pour obtenir des conseils afin d’identifier et d’éviter les fraudes et les escroqueries de loterie. ”

Indicateurs de fraude

  • Vous n’avez pas acheté un billet.
  • Vous n’avez jamais entendu parler du jeu de loterie.
  • Vous n’avez pas enregistré votre nom, adresse, adresse électronique, numéro de téléphone et une carte de crédit avant on avait le droit d’acheter un billet sur ​​un site de loterie en ligne.
  • Vous ne vivez pas dans le pays, et que vous n’êtes pas citoyen du pays de cette loterie.
  • Vous êtes invité à verser de l’argent à l’avance pour les frais ou taxes afin de libérer votre «victoire».
  • On vous dit que vous devez répondre dans un délai donné ou l’argent sera donné à quelqu’un d’autre.


Vendredi Décembre 7, 2012

Aujourd’hui, j’ai reçu un autre courriel contenant l’adresse suivante censé être envoyé par la Société des loteries de l’Ontario:

OLC again



Beware of this Scam: Microsoft® 2012 Online Promotion

Myself By T.V. Antony Raj



Today I received yet another scam email similar to the Ontario Lottery Corporation scam email; however, this time purporting to be from Microsoft.

It said, “Please Read Attached Letter…” with the following image attachment labeled “MGS Awarded You 810,000.00 USD”.

MGS Awarded You 810,000.00 USD

If you receive an email with an attachment similar to the above DO NOT RESPOND.


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Hoax: How to Survive a Heart Attack When Alone

Reproduced from

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Last updated: 29th December 2011
First published: 4th October 2004
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer

So called “cough CPR” is not a technique recommended or condoned by medical professionals.

An email forward that offers spurious advice about how to survive a heart attack has been continually circulating around the Internet since at least 1999.


Subject: IMPORTANT read this! Cough CPRA cardiologist says If everyone who gets this mail sends it to 10 people, you can bet that we’ll save at least one life.Read this… It could save your life!! Let’s say it’s 6.15 pm and you’re driving home (alone of course), after an unusually hard day on the job. You’re really tired, upset and frustrated. Suddenly you start experiencing severe pain in your chest that starts to radiate out into your arm and up into your jaw. You are only about five miles from the hospital nearest your home. Unfortunately you don’t know if you’ll be able to make it that far. You have been trained in CPR, but the guy that taught the course did not tell you how to perform it on yourself.


Since many people are alone when they suffer a heart attack, without help, the person whose heart is beating improperly and who begins to feel faint, has only about 10 seconds left before losing consciousness. However, these victims can help themselves by coughing repeatedly and very vigorously. A deep breath should be taken before each cough, and the cough must be deep and prolonged, as when producing sputum from deep inside the chest. A breath and a cough must be repeated about every two seconds without let-up until help arrives, or until the heart is felt to be beating normally again. Deep breaths get oxygen into the lungs and coughing movements squeeze the heart and keep the blood circulating. The squeezing pressure on the heart also helps it regain normal rhythm. In this way, heart attack victims can get to a hospital. Tell as many other people as possible about this. It could save their lives!!



The message outlines a technique for surviving a heart attack while alone that involves vigorous coughing. According to the email, a cardiologist has advised forwarding the message to others to save lives. However, the alleged cardiologist is not named, nor is there any reference to a reputable medical institution. In my opinion, use any life-critical “medical advice” that is not supported by credible reference material with extreme caution.

Please note that the cough procedure outlined in the email is not, in itself, a hoax and has been researched and tested by medical experts.  In fact, so-called “Cough CPR” might be beneficial under certain controlled circumstances. However, this does not mean that the advice in the email message is valid and useful. The most important factor to consider is that, according to medical experts, cough CPR should only be performed under strict professional supervision.

According to the American Heart Association, “the usefulness of ‘cough CPR’ is generally limited to monitor patients with a witnessed arrest in the hospital setting”. The American Heart Association article also notes:

The American Heart Association does not endorse “cough CPR,” a coughing procedure widely publicized on the Internet. As noted in the 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care, “cough CPR” is not useful for unresponsive victims and should not be taught to lay rescuers.

Moreover, the Resuscitation Council in the UK “knows of no evidence that, even if a lone patient knew that cardiac arrest had occurred, he or she would be able to maintain sufficient circulation to allow activity, let alone driving to the hospital”.

A victim would probably be better off directing his or her energy towards other life saving options such as seeking immediate help or calling the emergency number. The American Heart Association article also states:

The best strategy is to be aware of the early warning signs for heart attack and cardiac arrest and respond to them by calling [the emergency number in your country]. If you’re driving alone and you start having severe chest pain or discomfort that starts to spread into your arm and up into your jaw (the scenario presented in the Internet article), pull over and flag down another motorist for help or phone [the emergency number in your country] on a cellular telephone.

Heart patient support organization Mended Hearts has also debunked the procedure:

Despite a contagious rumor, coughing doesn’t prevent a heart attack. An e-mail that spread around the world like a contagious disease a few years ago claimed that anyone who feels heart attack symptoms while alone should cough “repeatedly and very vigorously, repeating a breath about every two secondsuntil help arrives, or (a normal heartbeat returns).”

Wrong, says the American Heart Association.

“It’s right up there with voodoo as far as I’m concerned,” says Dr. Cary Fishbein, a cardiologist with the Dayton Heart Center.

Another version of the message arrives as an email attachment rendered in Microsoft PowerPoint format. Someone has taken a lot of trouble to convert the original message into an attractive presentation complete with graphics and sound. In spite of the probable good intentions of the creator, the advice presented in the PowerPoint version is as equally spurious as it is in the email version. The PowerPoint version falsely attributes the information to an article in the “Journal Of General Hospital, Rochester”. However the Rochester General Hospital denies that such an article exists and has included the following statement on its website:

Important Notice Regarding the article “How to Survive a Heart Attack When Alone.”

Hundreds of people around the country have been receiving an e-mail message entitled “How to Survive a Heart Attack When Alone.” This article recommends a procedure to survive a heart attack in which the victim is advised to repeatedly cough at regular intervals until help arrives.

The source of information for this article was attributed to ViaHealth Rochester General Hospital. This article is being propagated on the Internet as individuals send it to friends and acquaintances – and then those recipients of the memo send it to their friends and acquaintances, and so on.

We can find no record that an article even resembling this was produced by Rochester General Hospital within the last 20 years. Furthermore, the medical information listed in the article can not be verified by current medical literature and is in no way condoned by this hospital’s medical staff. Also, both The Mended Hearts, Inc., a support organization for heart patients, and the American Heart Association have said that this information should not be forwarded or used by anyone. Please help us combat the proliferation of this misinformation. We ask that you please send this e-mail to anyone who sent you the article, and please ask them to do the same.

Thus, the “advice” presented in this email forward is not condoned by medical experts and it certainly should not be forwarded to “as many friends as possible”. Forwarding this sort of misinformation is irresponsible. Using the procedure outlined in the message in place of immediately seeking medical help could actually cost a life and not save it.