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Avoid Online Chain Letters

An online chain letter may be amusing, or it may carry hidden risks. Many chain letters urge you to take some action online that makes you the target of a scam, and forwarding the messages to your friends puts them at risk as well. By forwarding chain email, you may help spammers collect new email addresses to target people and sell a variety of products and services to them. If you do choose to forward an email to a group, do so responsibly.

1.  Check a site such as or to see if it is a known scam. If it is, delete it. If it isn’t a known scam you still have to be cautious. With the message open in your email program, start by clicking and dragging your mouse over the message text to select it.

2.  In your email application, choose Edit-->Copy to copy the content. (The keystroke shortcut for copying is to press Ctrl+C.)

3.  Open a new email, click in the message field,and choose Edit-->Paste to paste the message contents into the form. (Ctrl+V)

4.  Place your email address in the To: field and, if you are sending to more than one person and the people do not already know each other’s email addresses, place recipients’ email addresses in the Bcc: field.

Bcc means blind carbon copy. The message is sent to any email addresses you put in that field, but none of the email’s recipients see each other’s email addresses. Some email programs display the field on messages, in others you have to click a button or link labeled something like Show Cc and Bcc or Add Cc and Bcc.

5.  Enter a subject and click Send.

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