A good column written by John Dvorak over at the PC Magazine site talking about email scams. He provides a list of things to do to determine if it is bogus or not. They are:
1) Does the information come from a shady source? Is there a reference to someone you do not know? Is the wording about the original source vague and breathless, such as, “This came to my attention after I was told that…”
2) Was the message cut and pasted from someplace else?
3) Did someone tell you to pass the message far and wide to everyone you know?
4) Is screwball stuff misspelled?
5) Within the post, is there a disclaimer? (The best one is: “This is not a hoax!”)
6) Does it seem plausible on the surface but your gut tells you it is bogus? (Your immediate BS meter is always correct! Fine tune it.)
7) Does it somehow encourage you to make a fool of yourself by either posting the hoax or passing it along to others? If you are asked to take action out of the blue by a casual acquaintance, then it’s likely a hoax.
8) At the end of the day, is the hoax idiotic when you really look at it closely?
The full article an be read here: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2412537,00.asp