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Monday, June 25, 2007

WHAT TO DO ABOUT EMAIL HOAXES

WHAT TO DO ABOUT EMAIL HOAXES

I was prompted to write this Blog by a very intelligent computer authority I have befriended here in Panama. His suggestion was based upon the following notice which was sent to me by a friend and which I, in my ignorance, forwarded to several of my friends. For reference, the following in quotes is what I received and forwarded, but please be careful not to act upon it until you read my entire Blog:

“USA TODAY - IT IS FOR REAL
> > >
> > > To all of my friends, I do not usually forward messages,
> > > But this is from my friend Pearlas Sandborn and she really is
> > > an attorney.
> > >
> > > If she says that this will work - It will work . After all, What have
> > > you got to lose?
> > >
> > > SORRY EVERYBODY.. JUST HAD TO TAKE THE CHANCE!!! I'm an
> > > attorney, And I know the law. This thing is for real. Rest assured
> > > AOL and &nbs p; Intel will follow through with their promises for
> > > fear of
> > > facing a multimillion-dollar class action suit similar to the one
> > > filed by PepsiCo against General Electric not too long ag o.
> > >
> > > Dear Friends: Please do not take this for a junk letter.
> > > Bill Gates sharing his fortune. If you ignore this, You will repent
> > > later.
> > >
> > > Microsoft and AOL are now the largest Internet companies
> > > and in an effort to 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 f riends, Microsoft can and will
> > > track it (If you are a Microsoft Windows user) For a two weeks
> > > time period.
> > >
> > > For every person that you forward this e-mail to, Microsoft will pay
> > > you $245..00 For every person that you sent it to that forwards it
> >on,
> > > Microsoft will pay you $243.00 and for every t hird p erson that
> > >receives
> > > it, You will be paid $241.00. Within two weeks, Microsoft will
> >contact > > > you for your address and then send you a
> > > check.

> > > Regards. Charles S Bailey General Manager Field Operations
> > > 1-800-842-2332 Ext. 1085 or 904-1085 or RNX 292-1085
> > >
> > >
> > > Thought this was a scam myself, But two weeks after receiving this
> > > e-mail and forwarding it on. Microsoft contacted me for my address
> >and
> > > within days, I received a check fo r $24, 800.00. You need to respond
> > > before the beta testing is over. If anyone can affoard this, Bill
> > >gates is the
> > > man.
> > >
> > > It's all marketing expense to him. Please forward this to as many
> > > people as possible. You are bound to get at least $10, 000.00
> > > We're not going to help them out with their e-mail beta test without
> > > getting a little something for our time. My brother's girlfriend got
> > >in
> > > on this a few months ago. When I went to visit him for the Baylor/UT
> > > game, she showed me her check. It was for the sum of $4,324.44 and
> > >
> > > was stamped "Paid In Full".”

DR. Tauraso writes: I called the above 800 number and was told the number could not be reached from my calling area. Although I am in Panama, using SKYPE I always call 800 numbers without any trouble. This is Flag #1.

1.

Now I will publish what my computer friend wrote to me after I forwarded the above to him:

“Thank you for writing. This is something you might want to write about in your blog, titled "what to do about e-mail hoaxes".

This message, Dr. Tauraso, is what's called an "email hoax"; it's the direct descendant of the fax hoaxes that used to plague us back in the late 70s and all through the 80s and 90s. Since the growth in popularity of the internet in the late 90s it's snowballed as a phenomenon; it causes a considerable amount of damage to the world economy from lost productivity and wasted resources.

I'd appreciate if you let your friends and family know that if you receive any sort of chain letter like this they may forward it to me and I'll gladly do the proper research in order to let you and them know whether or not it's true.

This one you sent me is a variation on several ones that have been around on the internet since it became popular in the late 90s. The names and players may have changed, but the gist of it is the same.
There is *no such thing* as an e-mail campaign that will pay you to forward an e-mail. What there is, however, is a lot of unscrupulous people who will grab the e-mail addresses of this forwarded e-mail (just a few hundred from this message alone) and use these addresses to send junk mail to. Since most e-mail providers don't accept e-mail from nonexistent accounts, they'll even use these addresses to fake the "from:" address so that you and your contacts get the "bounces" as if you had sent out such mailings.

In the meantime you can check out http://snopes.com/ and http://urbanlegends.about.com/ to know more about these e-mail hoaxes, including ones you may recognize like "alligators in the sewers", "hotmail is shutting down or going to charge a fee", "kid with inoperable brain tumor wants to break world record for receiving postcards" (he got an operation and is probably an adult by now), and so on.

Regards,

Alex

PS: Remember... Forward them to me and I'll check them out for you...”

I believe the above letter says it all and I guess we all should know that THERE IS NO FREE LUNCH or IF IT SOUND TO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT USUALLY IS. What about the old Latin phrase: Caveat Emptor?

nicola michael Tauraso, M.D.

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