Why You Should Delete Chain Letter Emails

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The next time your friend or family forwards a chain letter email to you, DELETE the email without opening it. There may be some codes embedded in that email that could confirm your email address once you open it. If you couldn't resist reading the fabulous content of the email, then do others a big favor by deleting the email once you're done. DO NOT FORWARD it to other people. Forget about the bad luck, extra blessing, good luck, and wish will come true warnings. It's just a devious marketing scheme to harvest email addresses. The reason why forwarded email addresses is so effective is because they can easily bypass e-mail filters which block messages from senders who are not known to the recipient.

How Stuff Works explains some of the methods:

Spammers buy CDs that contain your email address along with millions of other valid email addresses from companies whose job is to gather and collect email addresses on the Web. How did your email address end up in those CDs in the first place? There are many different sources.

--> Spambots that crawl the Web looking for "@" sign which is an indication of an email address.

--> Software is used to extract the screen names and e-mail addresses automatically from chat rooms and newsgroups which are places where people can hold continuous public discussions about a particular topic. Software is also used to attack email servers to get hold of email addresses.

Spammers have the above sources to get your email address but these are done without your knowledge. Chain letters emails are the ones that people are unknowingly participating in to help companies harvest email addresses. If you forward these emails, you are helping spammers achieve their goals.

I think the first chain letter email I received was a hoax email from Bill Gates requesting people to help him test his new email tracking system. I found this example at Urban Legends. There are so many versions out there:

Subject: FW: Microsoft and AOL merger
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 1999

I'm forwarding a forwarded message...read on, it it works you may get $$ from Microsoft. Certainly Bill has enough to share-maybe today we'll be blessed financially!

I am forwarding this because the person who sent it to me is a good friend and does not send me junk. Microsoft and AOL are now the largest Internet company and in an effort make sure that Internet explorer remains the most widely used program, Microsoft and AOL are running an e-mail beta test. When you forward this e-mail to friends, Microsoft can and will track it (if you are a Microsoft Windows user) for a two week time period. For every person that you forward this e-mail to, Microsoft will pay you $5.00, for every person that you sent it to that forwards it on, Microsoft will pay you $3.00 and for every third person that receives it, you will be paid $1.00. Within two weeks, Microsoft will contact you for your address and then send you a check. I thought this was a scam myself, but two weeks after receiving this e-mail and forwarding it on, Microsoft contacted me for my e-mail and within days, I received a check for $800.00.

Over the years, I have received numerous chain letters warning me of bad luck, ill fate, help an ill child, products that would kill me, predators, good fortune, life fulfillment, and free gifts. I used to forward them until I found out the only thing I was doing giving out my friends and family email addresses to companies. You can help stop this madness. The next time someone forwards you an email with a subject line "Fwd.Fwd.Fwd.Fwd.Fwd Need to Respond By Nightfall". DELETE IT!

Source: CNN

24 comments:

Lazy Pineapple said...

UGHH...I hate chain mails..abhor them actually. How can you send someone such a mail wishing them ill luck...I just don't understand it...

Thanks for the info...I will definitely heed to your warning...

Willie a.k.a Reptoz said...

It is true of what you said. I hate chain letters and I never believe in them. When i was a primary school student, I was afraid of chain letters. I couldn't sleep thinking about it. But now? nahh...those are craps. hahaha

KN said...

I never open those ridiculous emails. I, too, received a bunch of Bill Gates emails. I hope one of these spammers get busted one day to teach others a lesson.

Mei Teng said...

I hate chain letter emails.

ModernMom said...

Oh I love this post. I so needed a reason to just hit delete! I hate chain letters. Thank you!

Ash said...

how can adults like us believe in such chain emails and actually "forward" them to friends and family?

i'm glad that you're raising the awareness so hopefully i get NIL chain emails within the next few days. i'll come back to thank you then. :p

(thanks for your comment on my blog!)

Gina F said...

I just delete them even if I know the person that is sending them to me. I hate those kind of emails. Why waste your time when you can blog and chat to your real bloggy friends. I hope you had a great Mother's Day weekend. "Take Care" :)

Gina
motherof1princessand2princes.blogspot.com

eugene said...

I never play along with this nonsensical chain letter, dont even read it,some are very intimidating too, as if if you dont pass on the chain letter, the bad luch will befall you, what nonsense is that,right?

instead of chain letter, must as well we start sending letter of encouragement to others,, right?

Veronica Lee said...

Thanks for the info! I only open forwarded e-mail that are from a trusted sender and I don't reforward them. If it's funny and interesting, I post them on my blog.

Have a nice day, RoseBelle!

KidsDreamWork said...

Totally agreed with you, I never bother to open those chain mail too and I always delete them straight away. I find it so irritating.

Gwei Mui said...

Here, here! Great post RoseBelle, I've never liked chain emails, infact I've never liked chain letters. I always delete them no matter who's sent them.

Alicia said...

I'm always very cautious of spam. If I don't know the person, I always delete it no matter what. Better safe than sorry!

Mr. Stupid said...

I hate these mails. Though, most of them that I receive are poorly written and make me laugh. There are some guys who exaggerate.
I once got a mail which claimed, I had won $15 million in the "International Lottery Contest"... hehe

Thanks for the info. Have a good day!:)

CVmom said...

I always get those prayers and religious forwarded emails by my coworkers. It's so annoying. The manager even held a staff meeting to tell people to stop doing it because it's counterproductive and a great way to spam each other.

Icy BC said...

You know, I hate these types of emails, but I'm always gullible to open them because they are from family and friends. But I deleted them after reading, and never forward it to others..

Ebie said...

Same here, I do not even bother to read them, more so forward them. I keep a special email for family and friends.

JoeyRes said...

I had a memorable freak out over email forwards a few years ago. Everyone was sure I'd lost it because of the intensity of my plea that they stop with the FWs. It worked for a good long while though and people stopped sending them. I NEVER forward them on so Bill Gates can keep his pennies as far as I'm concerned!

Cheryl said...

I immediately delete!!

Janice said...

Ughhh. I hate these stupid emails. Sometimes people just don't get it when you tell them to quit doing these forwarding thing.

Bananazą“• said...

Thankz for the reminder. They will do all sorts to get email addresses etc. There are lots of HOAX and people are still believing in it even though it has been in circulation for years. tQ.

Rita said...

I hate chain letter emails!
Thanks for the reminder and useful tips, Rosebelle. :-)

TK said...

I really have no idea about this. Thanks for sharing the info.I'll be more careful next time.

Buckeroomama said...

Ugh! I hate these chain emails...

nice A said...

I really agree with all your points. I always search about suspicious emails and I prove that they are really hoax. I also received that Bill Gates offer of a fortune. Then until now I still receive the YahooMail password verification. It's so annoying especially if I know it's a hoax yet still many people forward it to all their friends. I even take time sometimes to tell the forwarder that it's a hoax and she's wasting her time forwarding it and so on. So thanks for posting about this.