I received a forwarded e-mail earlier, and though am well aware that people are still gullible enough to believe anything anyone tells them, still find myself annoyed by those that send this rubbish. Especially when they're believing a scam that is now at least 8 YEARS OLD (as referenced by the 2001 BBC article the hoax points you to in order to verify what they are telling you).
This particular e-mail reads;
Lets go through this bit by bit shall we? First and foremost, even if the MSN directors were named "Tara and John", they would NOT be sending this kind of thing out themselves, and certainly not via e-mail. You'd see a press release or some kind of media publication DIRECTLY ON THE MICROSOFT WEBSITE, several MONTHS (if not a year or two) before it actually happened.
Secondly, MSN is NOT closing down and likely never will be (FYI, MSN = Hotmail = Live). It is also NOT running out of names for you to choose from - again, the likelyhood of this happening is about the same as the likelyhood of myself actually owning Microsoft.
Thirdly, even if this were the case, Microsoft would NOT ask you to send anything to anyone in order to keep your account. If MSN/Hotmail/Live truly was closing, it wouldn't matter what you did - you'd still lose your account.
Fourth, the e-mail references an article on the BBC website, that it claims can confirm what they are telling you - it won't. What the article DOES tell you is that;
1. The article on the BBC website is from 2001, 8 YEARS AGO
2. The article told you that Microsoft were NOT going to charge MSN/Hotmail users for existing services;
"Microsoft stresses that the site's core facilities including Hotmail will remain free.
Fees will be demanded for extra services that are now under development, such as an advanced filter system to protect email accounts from junk mail"
This isn't the first time this particular e-mail (and various incarnations of such) has done the rounds either, Sophos have seen it before (2006), as have many other people.
I cannot stress enough, if someone sends you an e-mail claiming one thing or another, VERIFY WHAT THEY ARE TELLING YOU and NEVER "send it to everyone on your contact list" (or whatever the wording is that they decide to use). For further information;
Montana Menagerie - Hoaxes, Spam and Phishing scams. The countless ways miscreants try to scam their way into your wallet.
TeMerc Internet Countermeasures - Phishing and Spam