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A hoax is misinformation which is spread across the internet. Hoaxes are usually sent via email or communication tools like ICQ and Skype. The message itself is often a joke or Urban Legend.

Computer Virus hoaxes try to generate fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) in the recipients, bringing them to believe that there is an “undetectable virus“ deleting files and retrieving passwords, or performing some other harmful activity on their system.

Some hoaxes work by asking recipients to forward messages to their contacts, perpetuating the hoax. There are mobile phone hoaxes, pleas for help, people offering to send you money from abroad, etc. It is often impossible to determine the intent of the creator.

If you see a message prompting you to forward it to everyone you know, it may very well be a hoax. There are many websites on the internet that can verify if an email is legitimate. Before forwarding, perform an internet search on any message you suspect is a hoax.