Bill Gates is a very, very rich man. Perhaps wealthier than many of us could imagine, but even with all of his money, not even Bill Gates could afford to give everyone on the net a share of his fortune. Yet that's exactly what a hoax that's been circulating the net for decades (well, in net-time) would have people believe.
And amazingly, they believe it.
Forget about faulty wings and bad engines -- the "killer spiders on airplanes" hoax wants you to believe that scary South American arachnids are preying on our friends in Chicago.
Has the dead hand of a notorious atheist succeeded in getting the federal government to ban the word "God" from America's airways, thus forcing CBS to cancel Touched by an Angel? In a word, no.
This hoax has been circulating since 1975, and shows no signs of going away, despite the fact that its primary antagonist, atheist Madeline Murry O'Hare, is dead. It was circulated for years in print form before making the jump to e-mail. More recent versions make reference to Murry O'Hare's disappearance and the subsequent discovery of her body, but they're just as bogus as the original.
The "Life is Beautiful" e-mail hoax claims a new virus will wipe the hard drives of anyone who triggers it while its cyber-terrorist author goes on to fight Microsoft in court.
The e-mail alleges the virus is contained in a PowerPoint presentation, but while such files can contain viruses, this online threat is bogus.
The SlaveMaster e-mail has returned to stalk the Internet, this time donning the persona of "MonkeyMan935" in an attempt to scare uninformed men and women.
Like its predecessor, the MonkeyMan935 e-mail is a hoax.
Why buy the world a Coke, when you can just forward an e-mail?
That question's at the heart of an e-mail hoax that promises free cola for fowarding a certain e-mail around the Net.
Here's the original e-mail:
Date Captured: April 17, 2000
Subject: FREE COCA COLA FOR A MONTH
When I was a kid, I told an outrageous lie: that my grade school principal was going to pay me .25 cents for each piece of garbage I picked up at the school. My parents immediately saw it for the fiction that it was.
Unfortunately, people on the net aren't quite so observant when it comes to heart-pulling e-mail scams such as this one, which promises that AOL will donate 5 cents for every email forwarded to treat an infant with brain cancer.
An e-mail claiming to be raising money to save a kid dying of brain cancer claims you don't have a heart if you delete the message (no doubt it will have been stolen by a rampaging band of kidney thieves looking to branch out into new markets). Updated with a mutated version in December 2002.
"Mommy ... it hurts!" Those words struck fear into the heart of Kevin Archer's mother ... but that fear was nothing compared to the horror she felt the next day when she found her son dead of a heroin overdose. The child had been playing in a McDonald's ball pit when a heroin-filled syringe had pierced his bottom, sending the deadly drug coursing through his veins.
It's a horrifying tale ... but it isn't real.
An e-mail claiming that a new patriotic Pepsi soda can had the words "Under God" striken from its design is a hoax.