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There is a multitude of scams around the Internet and even the most intelligent newcomers often get "taken in". Unfortunately, their naivete leads to the spread of these scams to other people, a few of whom will be gullible and "spread the word".
If you receive any message which invites you to "forward this" or "send this to all your friends" or "send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org" or similar, please DON'T.
The intention of these scams isn't always clear. If an email address is given, then it's probable that the originator wants to fill up the owner's "in basket". If there's a web site address then a "denial of service" attack is probably going to be the outcome. Sometimes they are sent out just for the heck of it to see how many gullible people will believe them. In this case they may ask every 100th person (say) to send an email back to them so they can see how quickly it's spreading.
Whatever the reason, it's usually intended to cause a problem for somebody. If nothing else, it's going to swamp the Internet with a LOT of unnecessary messages. No wonder some companies are considering a charge for every email routed through. By sending out these messages, you bring that evil day closer.
In case you haven't thought of it, do the maths. It's like the story about the king and the grain of rice. Imagine that you forward a scam message to ten friends. Each of them sends it to ten more friends. Each of them sends it to ten more friends. Each of them sends it to ten more friends. Now work out how many people received the message after only eight forwardings like this.
Yes, in under an hour you've reached one hundred million people!
Copyright ©2004 SatCure
Updated September 9, 2004
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