Chain E-Mails and Unnecessary Bulk Mail: Stop the Insanity


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Not everything that comes through the mail is valid. Most of the mail I receive-be it through US Post office or my e-mail-is just plain annoying. Still, there must be some people, even friends, who assume that I enjoy receiving so much garbage. They do not get it, even when I tell them, that the deletion of such stuff is an imposition on my time.

Why do they do it? I think, because someone else has sent it to them to be forwarded to a number of people, friends being the key word, and they don’t have the backbone to stop the chain. When this type of a chain e-mail comes from a friend, it is worse than getting it from a stranger, because I can’t block his e-mail since I want to keep my friends.

Chain letters, first in snail mail then in e-mails, started out as pranks or jokes or for circulating information, whether the receiver wanted to get such mail or not and whether he got the joke or the purpose of the mailer or not. In the beginning, I used to send the chain e-mail back to the sender to make him understand, but now I just delete it.

Then sometimes, I get another e-mail scolding me why I broke the chain. Some of the letters used to come with a warning such as: “If you break this chain and do not send this to seven other people, great misfortune will follow you and someone close to you will face adversity. ” Nowadays, these types of warnings are passé. Still, the bulk mailing and chain letters remain as the preferred mode of communicating someone’s objectives that do not concern the receiver.

On the other hand, I enjoy receiving personal letters and e-mails from friends greatly and I love it when a friend e-mails me an article or a URL that he knows will interest me. I even like the bulk mail if the content is of concern to me and is sent by someone I know or work with in some capacity.

There are numerous kinds of unconstructive bulk mails and chain letters. A true list would fill volumes. A few examples to those are: addressing one’s soft side by imploring help to the poor, sick, missing, or dying people; political truths or falsehoods under the guise of news; matchmaking or meet-your-soulmate mail; online rumor against one institution, company or person; virus warning hoaxes; mail of advertisements with doctored photos or pictures; e-mail activist petitions that ask a person to add his name to a list; a prize for nothing frauds; and pyramid schemes hiding under false pretenses. Most of these are scams to get the receiver’s money, but even when they aren’t, they are just as leechlike because they take up your time and inbox space.

Although the Federal Trade Commission came up with a “Do Not Call List, ” there are no laws I know of that forbid sending junk e-mail and chain letters, leaving spammers and swindlers free to gather e-mail addresses or personal information leading to identity theft and other harassments. FTC acts like a powerless waif against spamming and scamming mail and e-mail.

I believe, the best way to fight this trend is to not to forward any chain letter to anyone else, even when the content appeals to us and even if we think we know and trust a respectable company or business. Most scammers hide behind well-known names, associations and companies. The only weapon to fight this ill is to break the chain and just delete the e-mail from our inbox.

Joy Cagil is an author on http://www.Writing.Com/ which is a site for Writers . Her education is in foreign languages and linguistics. In her background are varied subjects such as psychology, humanities, and women's issues. Her portfolio can be found at http://www.Writing.Com/authors/joycag


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