We've all received these at least once. I don't know how they get started, but once they get started, they seem to have a life like the Energizer Bunny, they 'keep going and going'.
There are so many of these hoaxes making the rounds! There is the 'murdering madmen' hoax category, designed to scare everyone.
'Virus warnings' are hot on the circulation list. Those do just keep on coming and coming.
Another type of hoax that never seems to die are the pleas for help in locating missing children, sending cards to sick people, etc. These hoaxes play on our sympathies so a lot of folks are encouraged to 'send to everyone you know'. (In fact, that expression is indicative of a hoax!)
Deadly diseases that don't exist, foods containing insect eggs that will hatch inside you and eat your intestines, etc, are another type of hoax that makes the rounds.
One of the most ugly type of hoax is the one that is telling the 'truth' about a person. These poisonous missives are usually trying to discredit a political candidate. There may be a tiny bit of truth included, but generally the main portion is just a made up bunch of stuff. A lot of times there will be included a statement to check it out on Snopes. However this is just to lull folks into believing it must be true if it's on Snopes. If someone does check it out on Snopes, they will find the whole thing is false!
Then there are all those emails telling us if we forward it to 'everyone you know', Microsoft, Bill Gates or some other company/person will send us a check. Right. Not! There is no way anyone can track how many times this lying email is forwarded and even if there was a way, no one would send you a check.
And then there are the 'guilt' emails. These are trying to make you feel guilty if you don't forward to 'everyone you know'. They include emails about religion and friendship.
When you receive an email that has been forwarded many times (clues included many of these <<<, many email addresses from people you don't know, many 'fw' (forwards) in the subject line and 'send this to everyone you know'.) think it through before you forward it to someone else. Unless it is a joke, chances are it's a hoax.
For some more email hoaxes, look at 'Email Urban Legends' by James Huggins.