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Tax on e-mail? Long-running hoax endures

Tax on e-mail? Long-running hoax endures

(CNN) -- Years after an alarming e-mail began circulating on the Internet urging readers to rise up against Bill 602P, there are still people concerned that they may be charged for online chatting.

The e-mail warns people that House Bill 602P will levy a five-cent surcharge on every e-mail sent.

The e-mail goes on to say that the bill is sponsored by Congressman Tony Schnell, and the funds would go to the U.S. Post office, which of course has nothing to do with delivering e-mail.

CNN's Bruce Burkhardt hits the road to debunk one of the longest running e-mail hoaxes that includes phony legislation sponsored by a nonexistent U.S. congressman (April 1)

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It also urges people to "protest with your congressman." And in fact, Congress has been swamped with e-mails in protest of the bill. During their 2000 senate race, both Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rick Lazio came out against the bill.

But, April Fool on everyone. It turns out there is no bill and there is no Congressman Tony Schnell.

The entire episode is an elaborate hoax -- one that seems to have snookered just about everyone.

CNN's Bruce Burkhardt follows the Internet trail.


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