The Penny Brown e-mail is one of at least 19 categories of 'sympathy hoax' chain e-mails that prey on the compassion of others, says a United States federal agency which tracks viruses and junk mails on the Internet. Hoaxbusters, a service run by the US Department of Energy, said the e-mails generally asked people to forward the message, send help or make a wish. The sympathy hoaxes include: 10-year-old Rachel, who is dying from brain cancer. According to a George Arlington, America Online will give them US32 cents (HK$2.50) for every person who opened the e-mail and sent it to at least three people. Anthony Parkin, seven years old and suffering from leukaemia. 'I found your name using Gopher [an Internet search engine], and I would like for you to carry out my dying wish of starting a chain letter,' his e-mail said. Chris Mineo, five years old. His father said the New York boy has been missing since November 1998. Hoaxbusters said it found no evidence of any such missing person report. Another describes a child, Krystava Schmidt, who really got lost in Minnesota but was found two days later. The mother sent out an e-mail when her daughter went missing in July 1998 which has continued to circulate. Craig Shelford, who had brain cancer, got 16 million greeting cards in a campaign run by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. An e-mail hoax still asks for cards, even though the campaign ended in 1990. 'He would like them to stop,' Hoaxbusters said. As of this week, Hoaxbusters had identified 162 chain e-mails.