Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Advice From Snopes

By now, most people are familiar with Snopes
and/or TruthorFiction for determining whether information received via an e-mail is true or false. Both are excellent sites. Below is their advice.
1) Any time you see an e-mail that says forward this on to '10' of your friends, sign this petition, or you'll get bad luck, good luck, or whatever, it almost always has an e-mail tracker program attached that tracks the cookies and e-mails of those forwarded addresses. The host sender is getting a copy each time it gets forwarded and then is able to get lists of 'active' e-mail addresses to use in spam e-mails or sell to other spammers.
2) Almost all e-mails that ask you to add your name and forward on to others are similar to that mass letter years ago that asked people to send business cards to the little kid in Florida who wanted to break the Guinness Book of Records for the most cards. All it was, and all any of this type of e-mail is, is a way to get names and 'cookie' tracking information for telemarketers and spammers--to validate active e-mail accounts for their own profitable purposes.
You can do your friends and family members a great favour by sending this information to them; you will be providing a service to your friends, and will be rewarded by not getting thousands of spam e-mails in the future.
If you have been sending out (forwarding) the above kinds of e-mails, now you know why you get so much spam! Do yourself a favour and stop adding your name(s) to those types of listings, regardless of how inviting they might sound. You may think you are supporting a great cause, but you are not. Instead, you will be getting tons of junk mail later. Plus, we are helping the spammers get rich. Let's not make it easy for them.
Also, e-mail petitions are NOT acceptable to Congress or any other organization. To be acceptable, petitions must have a signed signature and full address of the person signing the petition.
Furthermore, please remove all e-mail addresses still attached before you forward a message. It is putting everyone's name out there. Most people use a nickname for their e-mail just so their real name is not out there on the internet. But if you have listed their real name in your contacts, it will also show up next to their email address. Be a friend and delete all the names before forwarding. Even better, send everything by BCC; that's Blind Carbon Copy. That way no names will ever show up on an e-mail.

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