Here, from a variety of sources, a meta-debunking of all hoax emails:

1. Big companies don't do business via chain letters and there are no computer programs that track how many times an e-mail is forwarded, let alone by whom. Bill Gates is not giving you $1000, Disney is not giving you a free vacation, and Nokia is not giving away free cell phones to those who email the most messages. There also is no baby food company issuing class action checks to emailers.

2. Proctor and Gamble is not part of a satanic cult or scheme, and its logo is not satanic.

3. MTV will not give you backstage passes if you forward something to the most people.

4. The Gap is not giving away free clothes. You can relax; there is no need to pass it on "just in case it's true."

5. There is no kidney theft ring in New Orleans. No one is waking up in a bathtub full of ice, even if a friend of a friend swears it happened to their cousin. If you are hell bent on believing the kidney theft ring stories, see And I quote "The National Kidney Foundation has repeatedly issued requests for actual victims of organ thieves to come forward and tell their stories." None have. That's "none" as in "zero." Not even your friend's cousin.

6. Neiman Marcus doesn't really sell a $200 cookie recipe. And even if they do, we all have it. And even if you don't, you can get a copy at Then, if you make the recipe, decide the cookies are that awesome, feel free to pass the recipe on.

7. If the latest NASA rocket disaster(s) DID contain plutonium that spread radioactive particulates over the eastern seaboard, do you REALLY think this information would reach the public via an AOL chain letter?

8. There is no "Good Times" or "It Takes Guts To Say Jesus" or any number of other similar supposed viruses. In fact, you should never, ever, ever forward any email containing any virus warning unless you first confirm it at an actual site of an actual company that actually deals with actual viruses. AOL, for example, is not in the antivirus business. (Some would say AOL itself is a virus, but that's another story.) The fact that someone says "AOL confirmed the existence of this virus!" is meaningless. Try And even if the virus IS real, don't forward the warning. We don't care; we keep our antivirus scanner up to date, and know better than to open unknown file attachments.

9. There is no gang initiation plot to murder any motorist who flashes headlights at another car driving at night with out lights.

10. If you still absolutely MUST forward that 10th-generation message from a friend, at least have the decency to trim the eight miles of headers showing everyone else who's received it over the last 6 months. It sure wouldn't hurt to get rid of all the ".." that begin each line either. Besides, if it has gone around that many times we've probably already seen it.

11. Craig Shergold (or Sherwood, or Sherman, etc.) in England is not dying of cancer or anything else at this time and would like everyone to stop sending him their business cards. He apparently is no longer a "little boy" either.

12. The "Make a Wish" foundation is a real organization doing fine work, but they have had to establish a special toll free hot line in response to the large number of Internet hoaxes using their good name and reputation. It is distracting them from the important work they do. Also, the American Cancer Society does not give 3 cents for each person you forward e-mail to. They ask for you to *donate* money, money, they don't *give* it; and, besides, how could they know how many e-mails you sent out? Sheesh.

13. If you are one of those insufferable idiots who forwards anything that promises something bad will happen "if you don't forward it" to X people or within X timeframe, then something bad *will* happen to *you* if I ever meet you in a dark alley.

14. Women really are suffering in Afghanistan, but forwarding an e-mail won't help their cause in the least. If you want to help, contact your local legislative representative, or get in touch with Amnesty International or the Red Cross.

15. As a general rule, e-mail "signatures" and "From:" lines are easily faked and mean nothing.

16. KFC really does use real chickens with feathers and beaks and feet and everything. No, they really do. Why did they change their name? In this health conscious world, what was KFC's name? Kentucky FRIED Chicken. FRIED is not healthy. So with the help of a focus group, they changed the name to KFC. It's short, doesn't offend dieters and it's easy to remember.

17. Another thing, just because someone said in a message, four generations back, that "we checked it out and it's legit," or "we know a lawyer who says it must be true or [Disney/Nokia/AOL/Microsoft/etc.] will be sued!" does not actually make it true.

PS: There is no bill pending before Congress that will allow the Post Office to charge you for sending email.

Bottom Line...

Composing e-mail or posting something on the Net is as easy as writing on the walls of a public rest room, and about as likely a source of truth. Don't automatically believe anything...ASSUME it's false, unless there is real proof (and not just someone's unverified claim) that it's true.

Now copy, paste, and send this to everyone you know or the program this message just covertly put on your hard drive will open up your CD-ROM tray and reach out and slap you upside the head.

Thanks to whoever compiled this list! There are several places where you can check on the chain e-mails you receive.

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