The first hoax that *I* ever saw on the internet is back. It started in 2005 as a chain-email claiming that, for every time you'd forward it, Bill Gates would give you a dollar. What people didn't (still don't?) realize is that there is no way to track an email unless a copy were sent to Mr. Gates **every** time...and even then, he doesn't know who has what email address.
Now, that hoax has spread to social networking with more cash being promised. It preys upon the greed and gullibility of the reader to get passed around.
Bottom-line: NEVER forward any kind of chain message. And, when in doubt, take a few key words (e.g. missing child's name, town, etc.) and google it with the word "hoax". With very few exceptions, almost every time I have seen a clearly mass-forwarded message, they're fakes.