Message circulating via social media warns users not to add somebody called “Jason Lee”, “Linda Smith”, “Jason Allen” or “Amy Allen” to their friend list because it is a virus. Other versions warns users not to add Raquel Critelli or Kelly Hargrove.
The claims in the message are untrue. The warning is a hoax and should not be reposted. It is just one more in a series of very similar hoaxes that falsely claim that users can get a computer virus just by adding someone to their contact list. It is not possible for a user’s computer to become infected with a virus in the way described in this hoax message.
This message, which is circulating swiftly around Facebook, Twitter and other social networks claims that adding a user called Jason Lee to your friend list can infect your computer with a virus. The message warns that the name “Jason Lee” is itself a virus and that even if another person on your friend list adds the name, you will get the virus as well. The warning claims that information “has been confirmed” and asks that recipients repost to make others aware of the supposed threat. Another version adds a second name, Linda Smith, to the warning. Yet another version tacks on the names “Jason Allen” and “Amy Allen”. And in early 2012, a new variant began circulating that added the names Raquel Critelli and Kelly Hargrove.
However, there is not even a shred of truth to this nonsensical warning, whatever names it features. Your computer cannot get a virus just because you add a name to your contact list. Any “warning” that makes such a claim is certain to be a hoax. In fact, this supposed virus alert is just one more in a seemingly endless series of absurd hoax messages that claim that adding someone to your friend list can give your computer a virus.
Another, virtually identical version of the hoax that is also currently circulating claims that “Smartgrrl15” is the name that will give you the virus:
ATTENTION*****: ALL FACEBOOK USERS**********…DO NOT ADD HER!!! IF SOMEBODY CALLED ” SMARTGRRL15″, ADDS YOU, DON’T ACCEPT IT…IT IS A VIRUS. TELL EVERYBODY, BECAUSE IF SOMEBODY ON YOUR LIST ADDS THEM, YOU GET THE VIRUS TOO. COPY AND PASTE AND PLEASE REPOST THIS HAS BEEN CONFIRMED THRU FB…
Versions of these silly virus hoaxes have been passed around since at least 2004. The hoaxes keep spawning new variants as they travel, presumably because pranksters substitute a new name for the supposed “virus” and alter a few other details before reposting on their networks. Earlier versions circulated primarily via messaging services and email and some continue to do so. But the popularity and ease of use of vast social networks like Facebook and Twitter ensure that modern incarnations of the hoaxes spread further, and much more rapidly, than ever before.
Some versions of the Jason Lee variant state that the virus has been “confirmed”, but do not say who or what did the confirming, thereby making the statement utterly pointless. Other versions of these hoaxes have claimed that the information has been confirmed by Facebook or various other organizations such as Symantec , McAfee or Snopes. None of these so called confirmations have any validity whatsoever and have simply been tacked on to the hoaxes in rather futile attempts to give them some desperately needed credibility.
It should also be noted that reposting versions that contain a person’s name could have a negative impact on innocent users. There are many people that share the names used in these hoax messages on Facebook alone. The names are not at all uncommon. Thus, ridiculous hoaxes like this could unfairly damage the reputation of people who just happen to share the name of the “virus” mentioned in the hoax messages.
If you receive one of these virus hoaxes, please do not repost it. And please let the original poster know that the warning is a hoax.