The Chain Gang
Date Added: May 13, 2005
So, you've been known to forward the occasional chain letter to friends and family? They're pretty harmless, afterall - just jokes, inspirational stories, the occasional warning. Then, out of the blue, you get an e-mail from someone you don't know asking if you would be so kind as to send them as many chain letters as you can. Should you be suspicious? Absolutely.
Sorry to bother you but I am hoping that you might be able to help me, I found your e-mail address on a chain letter that was sent to me and thought that as your name was on a chain letter you may have other chain e-mail letters (forwards) that you could send to me?
I am doing a project at college regarding the different subjects that go around the Internet on chain e-mail letters and how many people they actually reach, I would be very grateful if you could send me any that you have, absolutely anything and everything.
I would also be very grateful if you would be kind enough to forward this e-mail to all your friends as I need as many as I can get my hands on for the project to be a success.
Your help would very much be appreciated.
Folks began asking me about the version above early in 2004. In the first days of 2005, another version surfaced, slightly longer and more professional-sounding, and apparently coming from a different individual and e-mail address:
Sent from Gemma Brown.
I recently received a chain letter (A piece of mail that had been forwarded to me) that had your e-mail address in it along with several other peoples.
I thought that as your mail address was on one of these chain letters (forwards) you may have others that you would be willing to send to me. I know that this might sound like a daft request but I can assure you that this is a serious request. I am involved in a university project that is based over a year and we are analysing Internet mail, we are trying to ascertain trends and patterns to come up with some fairly accurate statistics regarding the type of mail that circulates around the internet, we know that 70% of all mail is spam but what we donít know is what percentage of that spam accounts for chain mail (forwards of any type, something that has been forwarded to you, a piece of mail that has formed part of a chain).
Please send absolutely anything and everything that remotely resembles chain mail, forwards of any type (even the rude ones). My project is based over a year and I need one million forwards for this project to be a success, so please keep them coming and donít worry I have some pretty huge mail boxes.
I would be grateful if you would be kind enough to forward this piece of mail to all your friends as I need as much help as I can get.
Please send all chain mail (forwards) to the following address.
Everyone that helps will receive a copy of our results and findings in January of next year so please help if you can.
Reference No - (G6Y1BFJVY3D)
You will only receive this mail the once, it will not be sent to you again and your e-mail address will not be passed on, however to conform to the law we must give you the opportunity to have your e-mail removed from our list. Please reply with the word delete to have your address removed."
My attempts to contact both "Jane" and "Gemma," the purported owners of the e-mail addresses from which these messages appear to have been sent, have been totally fruitless. They didn't bounce as undeliverable, but my requests for confirmation of the so-called "project" and explanation of what exactly was being done to protect the senders' privacy have gone unanswered.
There are several possible scenarios at work here:
Of course, it's also possible that I'm being too paranoid and the letter and associated project are legitimate - but extremely unlikely. Afterall, a person wouldn't really have to go through all the effort to collect and categorize different types of e-mails, since sites like this one already do that!
In general, BreakTheChain.org recommends strongly against replying to e-mails from someone you don't know, or otherwise providing your contact information (or any other personal information). The risks of abuse are way too high. As always, we caution that the more junk you send, the more you will get. Break the chain.