Forwarding Emails: Cute Pics, Inspirational Messages and Chain Letters

Bob StoneIT Guru
I imagine hoaxes have been around since people learned to speak, scams since bartering, chain letters since Pony Express, spam and embedded viruses since email was invented in 1971. Still all those things are alive and well today despite many technological advancements. Nowadays it is often a package deal, cutesy inspirational emails that sign you up for spam and/or contain an embedded virus.

There are 4 primary reasons you don’t want to forward this stuff to people

Many emails designed to make you want to forward them are merely mailing list companies attempting to fish for valid email addresses that they can then sell to spammers. They often contain small hidden scripts that add a mailing list company’s email address in the Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) when you forward the cute picture or inspirational message onto all your friends. Basically you are signing your friends up for spam when you forward them this stuff.
2. Viruses
Picture files such as jpg and gif are very common transports for viruses and spyware. Many links included in these messages go to infected sites that load spyware onto the recipient’s machine. Recent studies show that spyware and viruses in the US cost businesses and consumers over $7 Billion ($7,000,000,000) a year.
3. Storage Space
You might not think 5 MB of pictures is very much, but if you send that to 10 people that is 50 MB, and they send it to 10 people each that is 500 MB, if they send it to 10 people each that is 5,000 MB (or 5 GB), … you get the idea. Storage space and server maintenance for that many more emails costs the business money … money that could be used for far more productive things.

4. Time
Even if the stuff is 100% safe, you are still spending valuable time forwarding it, yours and your recipients.

Chain Letters

Why someone would want to threaten their friends with the dire consequences contained in a typical chain letter is beyond me. The promises of good fortune and threats of terrible things contained in chain letters are designed to emotionally manipulate the recipient into perpetuating the chain. Don’t be manipulated into forwarding garbage.


If you are offered something for nothing or the deal sounds too good to be true, it is almost always a scam.  


Hoaxes are easily verified by checking them out on two long running sites, Snopes and Hoax Busters. Both sites have a search feature and every effort is put into keeping them as up to date as possible.

There are 5 telltale signs that an email is a hoax.
1.      It is marked urgent or important.
2.      You are asked to forward it to everyone you know.
3.      “This isn’t a hoax”
4.      Threatens dire consequences.
5.      It has been forwarded many times.

You’re my friend, and if you don’t prove it in the next 100 minutes by forwarding this to 100 people, you’ll have 100 years bad luck!! This is NOT a hoax!!

Bob StoneIT Guru

Comments (1)

My name is MudSystems Engineer

Where is the forwarding button in this thing??? I want to warn my friends... If not, they might die!!! HALP!!!

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