(11/11/2002) Though many e-mail chain letters describe clever crimes and schemes that would be fairly easy to pull off, they usually provide no evidence that anyone is actually doing it... and for good reason.
SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT
Please be aware of the following:
We have been informed of the following scam, which is targeting females in particular. They received a phone call from the Post Office asking them to confirm their company post code. When this is given, they are told that they have become eligible for some gift vouchers for their co-operation and are asked to provide their home address and post code in order to receive the vouchers.
So far 90% of the women who have provided this information have been burgled as it is assumed that their homes are empty during office hours.
The police are aware of this scam and the Post Office have confirmed that they are NOT conducting post code surveys.
END CHAIN LETTER TEXT
This particular e-mail first appeared in the United Kingdom in late 2001 and has since spread to many other parts of the world. But, the tale is the stuff of urban legend - a cautionary tale that describes a crime that could happen, yet provides no evidence that it has. No locations or dates are given, nor is the source of the warning identified. If the police do not yet know about it, how does the author? Nevertheless, you're led to believe it is a common occurrence and you must be vigilant to protect yourself.
The ploy of offering gifts to lure someone out of their home or, in this case, to make sure they aren't home, dates back to at least the 1950s. Yes, such crimes do happen, but in chain-letter versions, the victim is almost always a young single working woman. The legend fosters the notion that she's somehow more vulnerable than most other members of society.
The one true and verifiable piece of information contained above is that the Post Office does not ask for your post code over the phone. Break this chain!