If you receive a chain email from your friend - Do not forward it on.
Do us all a favour and click REPLY ALL and send a link to this article to stop them!
The more junk you send, the more you will get. Sending or receiving chain letters increases your exposure to spam, scams and other junk mail.
It is also proven to be an ineffective tool for political change or campaigns such as the petrol price campaign.
As well as increasing your chances of receiving more junk you are just helping to 'clog up the arteries' of the Internet with meaningless traffic. e.g. Sainsbury's Offer for a free £60 voucher.
Is the email a virus warning? - Click here to read A friend sent me a virus warning - what should I do?
Why do people start off a chain email?
- To see how far a letter will go
- To harass another person (include an e-mail address and ask everyone to send mail, e.g. Jessica Mydek)
- To make money out of people using a pyramid scheme.
- To try and drown out some other chain letter (e.g. Make Money Fast)
- To damage a person's or organization's reputation
The Risk and Cost of Chain Emails
The cost and risk associated with chain email may not seem to be that high when you consider the cost of handling one on one computer. However, if you consider everyone that receives the chain email, that small cost gets multiplied. For example, if many people were to receive one hoax message and spend one minute reading and discarding it, the cost would be something like:
50,000,000 people * 1/60 hour * £20 per hour = £16.7 million
Most people have seen far more than one hoax message and many people cost a business far more than £20 per hour. The result is not a small number.
Probably the biggest risk for chain messages is their ability to multiply. Most people send on the chain message to everyone in their address books but lets just consider if they only sent them on to 10 people. The first person (the first generation) sends it to 10, each member of that group of 10 (the second generation) sends it to 10 others and so on. By the sixth generation there would be a million email messages needing to be processed by mail servers!
So the next time you get an email promising to help the poor little girl dying of cancer or PLEEEEEASE REEEEEAD! IT WAS ON GOOD MORNING AMERICA TODAY SHOW or that Chinese Proverb that will give you luck don't be taken in, don't embarrass yourself by sending it on and don't open yourself up to receiving still more spam or chain emails.
Another example hoax email is the one entitled Fraudulent Activity with Mobile Phones
The body of the message goes something like:
"If you receive a phone call on your mobile from any person, saying that, he or she is a company engineer, or telling that they're checking your mobile line, and you have to press # 90 or #09 or any other number. End this call immediately without pressing any numbers. There is a fraud company using a device that once you press #90 or #09 they can access your "SIM" card and make calls at your expense"