The whole.. "Scam alert" thing is not a new phenomenum but sadly there are a lot of people who fall for this sort of thing.
This isn't a thread to lambast or laugh at those who fall for them... after all the intentions for those passing these things on is to warn their friends and colleagues but in fact you've been socially engineered.. The muppet who wrote the scam story in the first place did it with your social conscience in mind and expects you to act accordingly.
So, how do you stop yourself from feeling a liddle foolish.
Well... as is oft quoted... google is your friend...
Running a quick search on google by putting a meaty little quote of about 5 words into your google search
will often return a few results that can verify whether this is indeed a hoax or something to dig a little deeper about.
For example the recent scam alert here:
Putting the quote:
"You are sitting at home and there is a knock at the door"
... into google turns up this link:
It's worth noting as well that you will sometimes find that someone stands by their warning and says "it happened to a friend of mine and I trust them"... I mean... my old University department head held up one scam on the basis of the secretarys friends experience which, if I'd not been bothered about my degree mark and done some digging, would probably have turned out to be nothing but a scam...
But ultimately, if in doubt, don't tell the world and their wife..