If you've got an email address -- and who doesn't these days? -- chances are you've received the occasional cautionary tale that just has to be true because it happened the emailer's father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate.
Those foreboding stories most often turn out to be little more than urban legend, but are spread easier than ever before thanks to today's technology.
Stories of organ harvesting, gang initiations, secret cookie recipes and terminally ill children are some of the most common subject matter in email chain letters.
Many times these emails do not go directly to your spam folder because they are sent from a trusted friend whose heart is in the right place.
So the next time your friend Bob or your aunt Jane tells you to SEND THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW, do everyone a favor and don't!
For the sake of saving us all, here are the top five most circulated Internet urban legends, and how long they've been around.
No. 5: Out go the lights
Known as the "Lights Out" legend, this one advises readers to heed this warning: If an oncoming car doesn't have its lights on, do not flash your own head lights, or risk death.
The email goes something like this: "Please spread the word. A police officer I know that works with the DARE program at my son's elementary school is warning drivers to not flash their lights at night to oncoming cars without their headlights turned on. This is a common gang member initiation game."
The email goes on to say that the gang member is instructed to then turn around and kill the first helpful driver who flashes their lights.
Snopes.com, the quintessential source online for true and false urban legends, said this rumor actually started in 1993 using the same idea, but with Hell's Angels biker gang in California as the perpetrators.
It's most likely not a gang member with his lights off, just another knucklehead driver sharing the road with you.
No. 4: The knockout perfume
Another email cautionary tale of woe concerns strangers in mall parking lots who ask the unsuspecting to sniff ether-laced perfume.
This is another read this or "fear death" legend. If the person actually sniffs the perfume offered by the pesky strangers, they will pass out, be stuffed in the trunk of a car, and robbed and beaten.
In 1999, Mobile, Ala., police supposedly received a claim from a woman who was "rendered unconscious after smelling an unknown substance" by someone who approached her in a bank parking lot. She told them when she awoke, she had been robbed. Blood tests found that she had no foreign substances in her body, so her story remains debated. This may be where this hoax began.
We don't know about you, but the same rule applies to people in a parking lot asking us to smell something as it does for those annoying people in the middle of the mall who want to clean our glasses or jewelry: Go away.
No. 3: Don't drink Coke on (fill in the date)
There have always been stories of a kind stranger giving a tip to someone (usually an elderly lady) in line at a grocery store after she helps him pay his tab, but the "Don't Drink Coke" legend got a jolt of new life after 9/11.
This urban legend claims that Arabs working in a Coca-Cola factory have tainted the product to coincide with a certain date.
The email goes somewhat like this: "THIS IS TRUE or THIS REALLY HAPPENED! So and so's son works at Quickie Mart. There was an Arab man in line and he was $1 short for his groceries. An elderly woman gave him the dollar. He waited for her outside of the store and said 'You people don't do things like that for us so I'm going to do something nice for you.' He told her not to drink any Coke products on Sept. 11."
This particular version seems to have started in 2002. Coca Cola has received so many inquiries about it, they actually posted a response on their website.