Is that email from Microsoft promising to give you $5 every time you forward it on for real? Is poor little Jimmy with no head who really needs your love and $10 really in Bethesda Private?

Great tips and a few fun hoax email generators can be had on the Break The Chain website. This stuff should be Internet 101 for everyone.

Related true story:

Once upon a time I was getting inundated with chain letters. You know, the ones from you friends (!) that say:

I love you, you are my special friend. You must forward this email to 10 of your closest friends, or you will have terrible bad luck, and you will die horribly. It happened to a friend of a friend!

When I quickly got tired from deleting them, I sent one of my own back to the worst perpetrators:

Dear friend. I love you long time and send you lots of good luck. You must now type out 1000 fresh copies of this email (do not use copy and paste as this destroys the goodwill), and send them to 1000 of your friends, within 10 seconds of reading this. Then your luck will be multiplied 1000 fold. If you ignore this email, your gonads will shrivel up and fall off. Seriously. It happened to a friend of a friend just last week.

That fixed it.