Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Friends don't let friends forward hoax e-mails.

In recent weeks I've received copies of the same hoax e-mail from 32 different friends, and in fact, I have received variations of the same one many times.

Instead of just deleting the hoax e-mail I like to respond and let the sender know that they are forwarding a hoax e-mail and send them to, and the specific address for the history of the particular hoax they are forwarding. Here is an example and in my experience the most popular one:

Bill Gates, Intel, Some other rich person or corporation will send you larg sums of money if you forward this e-mail

People can't resist the offer of large sums of EASY money.

Davin suggested the following as a pre-emptive strike e-mail to send to your friends. Sort of an upstream anti-hoax idea virus.

Subject: Are you destroying our trust in email?

Top sign of being an email neophyte:
1. You naively forward hoax emails to everyone you know.
You know those emails that seem too good to be true? They usually start with a claim like, "My older brother is a lawyer for Microsoft and he said this email is totally legit." Then they go on to explain how if you forward the email to so many people, some company will track it and you'll get an easy $50. Or some other silly scheme.

Now, stop yourselves and listen: IT IS A LIE. Do not believe it.

Here are the two easy steps you must take if you want to stop being seen as an email newbie:
1. Highlight the offending email message.
2. Delete the email message before it does further damage.

Good. Remember those steps.

Now, educate yourself. Whenever you feel an urge to forward a seemingly serious email to anyone, especially when there are numerous Fwd: Fwd: Fwd:'s in the subject line, go to a web site that researches these kinds of hoaxes.

Here's a web site that lists a few hoaxes. There are many others.

Go forth and forward hoaxes no more.

Now, forward this to 7,000 of your closest friends.

Do you think this would get people to stop? Probably some, but not all.

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