Once, back in the good old days of paper, a chain letter was nothing more than a nuisance. “Send this letter to 10 friends and get good luck. For every dollar you send out, you’ll get back twenty.” We were used to those types of things. The paper-based chain letters are largely gone, but have been replaced by Internet scams and email scams with far greater consequences than losing ten bucks.
Snopes.com reported that “chain-letter’ emails almost always have email tracker coding included. This means that every time you forward the email to someone else, that person’s email address is added to the list of email addresses being created by the person behind the scam. The next time the scam is to be run, your friend’s email address will likely be included in the original email.
Here are a few simple tips to protect yourself from email scams:
- Was the email created by someone you know? If the person who sent you the email was just forwarding it, be careful, you don’t know who created the original email or for what purpose.
- Does the email specifically ask you to forward it to friends. This should be a red flag, especially if it wasn’t created by someone you know.
- Is there a promise of financial reward? A free iPad? A thousand dollar bill? These are common Internet scams that pull in thousands of email addresses for those who want to profit from a momentary lapse of judgement on your part.