My response to chain mail, multiple forwards

Discussion in 'other security issues & news' started by taba, Oct 20, 2002.

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  1. taba

    taba Registered Member

    Jul 27, 2002
    [long post]

    [glow=#FFFF99,2,300]FWIW, here's info I send to those who pelt me with chain mail, multiple forwards, or emails with lots of others' addresses.[/glow] Most people appreciate the the explanations if offered in a friendly manner.

    Thanks for sending me [whatever type of] messages. While I enjoy those, I prefer to never receive any messages that could be considered chainmail, petitions, hoaxes, or email forwards with lots of people's addresses.

    A few things you may not realize:
    1) Anything that says "pass it on" is considered chainmail or spam.
    2) Anything that says "once the list reaches [however many], email it back to [whomever]" means it is also chainmail or spam, and is almost guaranteed to be a scam to gather lots of good email addresses for spammers.
    3) Credible organizations do not create or accept online petitions - a form of chainmail ("add your name and pass it on" emails).
    4) Any email that encourages you to send to as many people as possible is probably gathering email addresses for spammers.
    5) Emails containing lists of email addresses in the body or To information are an unnecessary privacy and security risk.

    The following is rather long (and I apologize for this) but I think this information will be helpful to you and those you send email to.

    ---(....excerpted from - no longer available online)---

    Friendly Forwarding
    At one time or another, we all find a Chain Email that's so cute, or funny, or whatever that we have to send it to everyone we know... or maybe just a couple people. This is not a good idea. Here are some considerations for sending Chain Mail.

    Residual Effects of Careless Forwarding
    Junk Mail! Reading headers of Chain Emails is an effective way for companies to get the addresses of people they can send Junk Mail to. They not only get your name, they get the name of everyone you sent it to.

    Exposure: A lot of times one of your friends won't want another one to know his or her email address. Ta-da! You are the cause of catastrophe.

    Annoyance: You annoy people! Some people like Chain Mail; it makes them feel good inside. But a great number of people find it just plain annoying. They just don't want to tell you. I had a friend who sent me loads of Chain Mail. After a rather inept attempt at asking her to stop, I just decided not to tell her when I changed my email address.

    Stupid Attachments! Often Chain Mail is forwarded as an attachment. Then when the next person forwards it, that's an attachment too, so when the 57th person opens it, he or she has to open an attachment, containing an attachment, then open the next attachment and the next one and so on and so forth 57 times. True, some email programs open them all automatically and dump them into one window, but some don't.

    False Information: Some Chain Mail warns us. Many times, this is a hoax. Check the info on Google!

    Nothing's New: Some Chain Mail has been circulating since mass email usage began. Most has at least been circulating for a few years. Even when a new one does come along, it tends to resemble old ones.

    Tips on Friendly Forwarding
    Stop the Chaos! If you don't want to receive Chain Mails, tell people, frankly and openly. Don't send a reply message containing only the word "unsubscribe." They won't understand. It's not really that dangerous to a friendship to say "Hey, I hate Chain Mail, please don't send me anymore." This helps all the problems mentioned above.

    Copy and Paste: Instead of just hitting the forward button, copy the actual message (not including email addresses) and paste it into an entirely new message. This helps the problems of Junk Mail and Stupid Attachments. However, it may cause a problem when sending pictures. If you absolutely must send a picture, maybe you can consider that a special case and just press forward. But delete the unrequired text, please!

    Check Recipients: Don't just send to everyone in your address book. Make sure the people you send to would actually care to see it. Also make sure that the person who sent it to you, didn't already send it to them. (Unless of course it's one of those "Change the answers to your own so we can all know about each other" Chain Emails.) This helps the Annoyance and Nothing's New problems.

    Blind Carbon Copy: Maybe you've noticed the "To," "CC," and "BCC" boxes in your email program. These stand for "To," "Carbon Copy," and "Blind Carbon Copy." One of the best ways to keep people down the line from getting your friends' email addresses is to put their addresses in the BCC box instead of the To box. This means, that when it reaches one of your friends, he will only see your email address and his own. He won't see any of your other friends email addresses. So when he forwards carelessly, he's only telling other people his email address and yours. The drawback is that your friend won't know who you sent it to and so he'll send it to the same people. This helps the Junk Mail and Exposure problems.

    Check the Facts: If the American Association of Heart Worms was really giving a nickel to this guy's dog whenever you forward this message, there would probably be some web page about it. The best way to check the facts is to look it up online. There are plenty of web pages devoted to dispelling urban myths, including Snopes (, and The Top 10 Signs of an Email Hoax (

    Why blindly forwarding messages is bad
    • Many e-mail providers prohibit the sending and/or forwarding of chain letters. Did you read your provider's terms of service closely? Chain letters are often basis for cancelling your account. Many well-meaning e-petitions and class projects are killed for this reason.
    • You'll waste other's time. And not just the time it takes the recipient to read the message. Consider this: organizations like Proctor and Gamble, the American Cancer Society, and the Make A Wish Foundation waste hundreds, even thousands of man-hours each year responding to questions about hoaxes that use their organizations' names.
    • You could cause panic and foster distrust. And, let's face it, do we really need any more of that in our society? Besides, many of these hoaxes actually encourage you to harm yourself or put yourself into dangerous situations because you supposedly can't trust the proper authorities.
    • You'll slow down the Internet. Suppose you forward the message to 10 people, and each of them forwards it to 10 more, and so on. This process can produce 10,000 copies in just 4 generations! Contrary to popular belief, the 'net is not unlimited. "Melissa" and "ILOVEYOU," two of the most widely known legitimate viruses, actually work by sending themselves out to everybody in an infected computer's address book, thus stressing and crashing e-mail servers with the sheer number of messages. When you forward a message to a bunch of people at once, you risk doing the same thing.
    • Your name and e-mail address become attached to the message. This increases the likelihood that you'll get more junk in the future. Plus, the names and/or e-mail address of the person who sent it to you (as well as everyone else they sent it to) are imprinted on the forward, so you could be violating someone's privacy.

    Please pass this email to others who are (probably unintentionally) participating in chain mail, spam, or "unfriendly forwarding." Just don't turn it into a marathon forward including everyone's email addresses (just kidding)!


    Hope someone else finds this helpful.
  2. Primrose

    Primrose Registered Member

    Sep 21, 2002
    I like it thanks... :D a chain email to stop all chain put alot of thought in that..good job.

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