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Chain email Letters
Sympathy hoaxes usually describe some person that has had something terrible happen to them, such as an accident or terminal disease. Or it could be a plea about a lost or missing child. Most of these are just simply not true, made up by an Internet hoaxster. In rare instances these letters may have had a basis in fact. By now, however, that person has grown up, gotten cured, or has been found. The problem with sending out messages such as those is that there is no way to stop them after the problem is resolved, thus becoming an urban legend.
Any reference to the Make-A-Wish Foundation donating money, seven cents for example, is a hoax because they do not participate in those kinds of appeals. They specialize in granting the wishes of terminally ill children.
E-petitions are self-perpetuating chain letters over which their originators
have no control whatsoever. Recipients can and do alter the texts at will before
passing them along, often corrupting the accuracy of the information. The
circulation of e-petitions can neither be predicted nor limited. They cannot be
recalled and they cannot be stopped. Some existing
As anyone who has actually attempted to send
Delete those petitions. They're unlikely to carry much weight with anyone in authority, especially as compared to a flood of personal messages from a comparable number of individuals. Respond to your friends who send the petitions that if they want to have an impact they should pick up the phone or write a real letter in their own words to those running the show. Chain letters have proven themselves to be fairly useless; more sophisticated petitions, posted to a Web site that collects signatures, have garnered more respect.
Finally, please do not forward unverified chain letters, no matter how compelling they might seem. Propagating chain letters is specifically prohibited by the terms of service of most Internet service providers and you could lose your account.
NOTE: An e-mail petition concerning the civil rights of Afghanistan women has been making the rounds, and the story of their plight is true. However, such a petition has no validity at all as no signature can be checked or validated. If you are concerned about this issue go to one of the websites related to this topic such as: http://www.rawa.org/.
Reference to any of the following names is either a hoax or an urban legend:
Here is a partial list of these fake chain letters with further information about them:
Now, if you want to see some humor about these stupid chain letters, click here!
The concept of e-mail tracking first showed up in the Bill Gates $1,000
giveaway hoax. The earliest version of this still popular chain letter appeared
in November 1997. That message began:
Hello everybody, my name is Bill Gates. I have just written up an e-mail tracing program that traces everyone to whom this message is forwarded to...
From this grew the myriad e-mail tracking chain letters that are so plentiful on the Internet these days (see Giveaway Hoaxes).
In the latest versions of this hoax, the supposed tracking program is attached to the e-mail. The "attached" tracking program is the mechanism by which whoever is running the scheme will supposedly determine how many times the message has been forwarded. It lends a bit of credibility to the plan . . . so long as you don't stop to think about the fact that the message has no attachment of any kind when received. Besides which, file attachments don't do anything unless executed by the recipient.
Bill Gates said it best: ". . . it is hooey."
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Copyright J Slemmer 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
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