The Bill Gates hoax began circulating in November 1997. Part of the text of
the hoax reads as follows
Forward this to everyone you know and if it reaches 1000 people everyone
on the list you will receive $1000 and a copy of Windows98 at my
There are a number of variants, including one which requests a credit card
number and expiry date, but all claim to be sent by Bill Gates the chief
executive of Microsoft Corporation. A more recent variant also adds reference
to Walt Disney and offers an all expenses paid trip to Disney World.