This story was first published in 2004
Circulating message claims that Bill Gates of Microsoft is “sharing his fortune” with those who forward the message to others.
The claims in the message are utter nonsense. Bill Gates will not pay you so much as a cent for forwarding a message. Nor will anybody else associated with Microsoft. In fact, the message is one of the Internet’s oldest and most long-lived hoaxes. Versions of this silly hoax have been circulating in various forms since the 1990s.
This was on the 9:00 o’clock news the other night and this works. THIS TOOK TWO PAGES OF THE TUESDAY USA TODAY – IT IS FOR REAL PLEEEEEEASE READ it was on the news!This thing is for real. Rest assured AOL and Intel will follow through with their promises for fear of facing a multimillion-dollar class action suit similar to the one filed by PepsiCo against General Electric not too long ago.Dear Friends; Please do not take this for a junk letter. Bill Gates sharing his fortune. If you ignore this, You will repent later. Microsoft and AOL are now the largest Internet companies and in an effort to make sure that Internet Explorer remains the most widely used program, Microsoft and AOL are running an e-mail beta test.When you forward this e-mail to friends, Microsoft can and will track it (If you are a Microsoft Windows user)? For a two weeks time period.For every person that you forward this e-mail to, Microsoft will pay you $245.00 For every person that you sent it to that forwards it on, Microsoft will pay you $243.00 and ! for every third person that receives it, You will be paid $241.00.Within two weeks, Microsoft will contact you for your address and then send you a check.Regards
Charles S Bailey General Manager Field Operations [Contact Details Removed]I thought this was a scam myself, But two weeks after receiving this e-mail and forwarding it on. Microsoft contacted me for my address and within days, I receive a check for $24, 800.00. You need to respond before the beta testing is over. If anyone can afford this, Bill gates is the man.It’s all marketing expense to him. Please forward this to as many people as possible.
[Contact details removed]
I thought this was a scam myself, But two weeks after receiving this e-mail and forwarding it on. Microsoft contacted me for my address and withindays, I receive a check for $24,800.00. You need to respond before the beta testing is over. If anyone can affoard this, Bill gates is the man.It’s all marketing expense to him. Please forward this to as many people as possible. You are bound to get at least $10,000.00. We’re not going to help them out with their e-mail beta test without getting a little something for our time. My brother’s girlfriend got in on this a few months ago. When i went to visit him for the Baylor/UT game. She showed me her check. It was for the sum of $4,324.44 and was stamped “Paid in full”Like i said before, I know the law, and this is for real.Intel and AOL are now discussing a merger which would make them the largest Internet company and in an effort make sure that AOL remains the most widely used program, Intel and AOL are running an e-mail beta test.When you forward this e-mail to friends, Intel can and will track it( if you are a Microsoft Windows user)for a two week time period.TRy it; What have you got to lose????
According to this message, Bill Gates of Microsoft is sharing his fortune and you can get some of his money just by participating in an email beta test. Supposedly, Microsoft and AOL have teamed up to run the test and you will receive $245 for every person you forward the email to during a two week period. The message claims that Microsoft will track the progress of the email and subsequently contact you for your address and send you the money.
But, of course, the claims in the message are total nonsense. You will not receive so much as a cent for forwarding this inane and ridiculous message. And, the email has no connection whatsoever to Bill Gates or Microsoft. In fact, the message is one of the Internet’s oldest hoaxes and has circulated in various forms since the late 1990s.
Details, such as the amount you will be paid and the companies supposedly helping Bill and Microsoft with the “test” vary in different incarnations of the hoax. Some versions even include screenshots of bank statements that appear to show that people really were paid to participate. Of course, these bank statements are fake.
All versions of the “email beta test” hoax can be traced back to an even earlier hoax that began circulating way back in 1997:
Hello everybody, My name is Bill Gates. I have just written up an e-mail tracing program that traces everyone to whom this message is forwarded to. I am experimenting with this and I need your help. Forward this to everyone you know and if it reaches 1000 people everyone on the list will receive $1000 at my expense. Enjoy.
Considering how long this hoax has been running, even Bill Gates would be bankrupt by now if he was really paying out money for every forwarded email. It is simply ridiculous to suggest that any sane company would even consider participating in such a haphazard and uncontrollable exercise. Furthermore, in spite of the claims in these messages, there is no reliable or ethical method of tracking who sends a particular email to whom when the message could be expected to be copied, shared, and forwarded many thousands of times. Accurately calculating how much money should be sent to how many people would be impossible.
A related hoax that began circulating in 2013 featured a photograph depicting Bill Gates holding a sign that claimed he would give $5000 to every user who shares his picture on Facebook. The prankster behind the hoax digitally altered a photograph of Gates holding up an entirely different sign. This version clearly paid homage to the original “beta test” version” and was most likely created as a joke. Nevertheless, at least a few people took the post seriously and shared it in the vain hope of getting the promised $5000.
Bottom line? Every single version of this message that has circulated over the last two decades is complete nonsense and should not be taken seriously. Don’t be tempted to participate “just in case” it is true because all you will do is make yourself look foolish in front of your friends.
Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!