Who gets email rumors? Everybody
Who creates them? A few souls
Who spreads them? Everybody
Most of us get chain letters from friends, sometimes they are funny, sometimes they are interesting and sometimes they are annoying.
Some of they come as very elaborate PowerPoint presentations with sound effects. Some of them come as pictures and some of them as just plain text.
Every now and then we get an email rumor that makes us stop and think. Take for example, an email I recently got about a teenage girl that had been missing for 2 weeks. The email included text from the "mother" asking readers to send the email to everyone we knew, adding "if it was your daughter, wouldn't you want others to do the same?" The email was in Spanish. I went to www.snopes.com a site that keeps track of virtually every rumor, and looked for missing girl rumors. I found several, one of them with almost an exact translation of the one I got, only the names and places had changed. The rumor was falso.
Later I got an email about Cleaning For a Reason, informing me that this group cleans for free the houses of women suffering from cancer. I checked snopes.com and what I thought was another email rumor turned out to be true.
Why do we get emails about these things? Why would people bother sending those messages around? The reason is simple: It's because we can. If we get something in the mail we like or find interesting, all we have to do is forward it so others can enjoy it too.
Before email, the burden of deciding what was worth reading fell on the shoulders of the sender. You had to decide if the piece of paper was good enough for you to spend a stamp (or many stamps) on it, to send it to all your contacts.
Now you don’t have to spend a dime to send everything you get to everyone you know. The burden of sifting good material from junk has shifted from sender to receiver. Not a big deal, we are the same players, we all send and we all receive. It’s just a matter of being aware of the shift, that’s all.
Before you forward an email, do a quick check to see if it's an email hoax. If you find out that the email you got is false, then let the sender know, so they don't keep passing it on, or if they already sent it out, at least they can send a correction.
You may want to read a related article about effective email communication.