The Top 25 Web Hoaxes and Pranks

Whether they take the form of a comic image of a giant cat or a desperate plea from a sick child, chain e-mail messages and Internet frauds are elements of the online landscape that we've all encountered. No topic is off limits: a medical warning, a promise of free money, or a believably (or shoddily) Photoshopped image. But at the end of the day, they're just elaborate hoaxes or clever pranks--and we've collected 25 of the most infamous ones ever to have graced the Internet or our inboxes.

Though some of these deceptions originated years ago, the originals--and dozens of variants--continue to make the rounds. If you keep a patient vigil over your e-mail, you too may eventually spot a message urging you to FORWARD THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW!!! And if you haven't had enough when you finish reading this article, take a hoax test at the Museum of Hoaxes, and then hop over to Snopes, the premier myth-dispelling site for coverage of zillions of other falsifications.

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