There are many hoaxes continually popping up on the nets. False viruses are the most common of these with names like "Join the Crew" or "PenPal Greetings", but there are many more themes that keep recurring. Appeals to charity is a common theme for a hoax, sometimes partially based in fact. If you get a chain letter appeal about Jessica Mydek or Craig Shergold or anything involving the Make A Wish Foundation, please check it out first before spreading it.
There are also lots of stories going around about Bill Gates and money-making schemes and expensive cookie recipes and stolen kidneys, all of which are interesting stories, but usually false or even fraudulent. You can read more about hoaxes in our feature article, Hoaxes and Urban Legends.
When in doubt, never spread a story around. Instead, check the Department of Energy's Computer Incident Advisory Committee (CIAC) Hoaxes Page or ask us here in the NavNet Forum or check out our glossary items for virus or for the taller tales, urban legends.