Oklahoma City_Oklahoma State Representative James Covey in a press release says:
Internet rumors, identity theft and phishing scams have become so prominent during the last decade that state Rep. James Covey is encouraging citizens to protect themselves by taking the time to research emailed rumors and potential scams and determine their validity.
Covey said he has been inundated with calls during the last several years by constituents seeking to verify rumors from every end of the spectrum, including whether Congress was planning to take away Social Security benefits and whether illegal immigrants who don't pay taxes are entitled to education benefits that United States Citizens aren't.
"I am encouraging my constituents to practice self-governance, first and foremost, by staying informed of the issues of the day," said Covey, D-Custer City. "An informed citizen is far less likely to become a foil of an Internet rumor or a victim of a scam. But even if you are not sure of the truthfulness of a particular rumor or the validity of an email, you can always check various Web sites that exist only to investigate rumors and scams and protect citizens."
Covey said there are several Web sites that consumers can use to protect themselves from scams and determine if rumors are unfounded, including snopes.com and factcheck.org.
Snopes.com investigates urban legends and myths and determines their truthfulness, said Covey, while factcheck.org allows citizens to send in suspicious political mail, email and phone calls, which the site will then verify.
Covey noted that nearly every citizen has access to the Internet through the public library system.
"It is amazing the amount of information and misinformation available to citizens through the Internet," said Covey. "We have far more information at our fingertips today than we ever have at any time in history. Citizens of every age should take advantage of that and arm themselves with knowledge. That is self-governance, and it empowers people who practice it."