Send It Forward

For those of us who forward e-mails, the following information may help you avoid hackers and viruses, junk mail and spam. To prevent abuse of the Internet and to protect your privacy and the privacy of others, try the following tips every time you send an email to more than one person:

  • Every time you forward e-mail there is information attached from the people who had the message before you, particularly their e-mail addresses and names. As messages get forwarded along, this list of names and addresses builds. If someone on that forwarded list gets a virus, his or her computer can send that virus to every other e-mail address that has come across the computer.
  • People can sell all forwarded addresses to junk scams that get you to go to sites that make five cents for each hit.
  • Unless you forward emails using BCC: email addresses can be found by right clicking on properties.
  • Whenever you send e-mail to more than one person, never use the "To:" or "CC:" fields for adding multiple e-mail addresses. Always use the BCC: (Blind Carbon Copy) field for listing other e-mail addresses. People you email will only see their own personal e-mail address.
  • When you forward e-mail, DELETE all the other addresses that appear at the top of your message. You can place them in the BCC: line if you wish to send a bulk forward, but make sure to edit/delete those addresses from the body of your email before you send the email. Otherwise, it is too easy to forget.
  • Remove "FW:" from the subject line of your email, even if you don't change the subject.
  • Always hit your Forward button from the actual e-mail you are reading. Have you ever received e-mails where you scroll down pages and pages of addresses before you get to the information in the email? By Forwarding from the actual page you are viewing, you stop passing on the list of recipients.
  • Avoid email petitions. Petitions typically ask you to add your name and address and then forward the petition to others in your address book. The email can forward so many times that it collects thousands of names and email addresses, and a professional spammer can tap into this list. If you want to support a petition, send a personal letter to the intended recipient. Typically, a written letter and mailed personal response to a petition carries more weight than an emailed response.
  • Delete emails that say: "If you forward this email to 10 people within 10 minutes, something good will happen to you." If the email has value, then forward the message but delete from the email the fear-based messages such as the one above. Why forward negative energy to your friends and family?
  • Before you forward a Virus Alert, check it out before you pass on the warning. Many virus warnings have been circulating for years. If you receive an email in question, check it out with the various Internet services. But don't just go to one site; visit at least two consumer watch sites to see what others say.

Posted March 2008 | Permanent Link

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