(11/5/2001) I read it in "Dear Abby," it has to be true, right? Unfortunately, this is just another example of so-so advice dressed up as a "true story."
SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT
A Chilling Dear Abby Letter
Many of you that I know drive or know women who drive cars and have to leave their cars in the shop. Please forward this message to all the women you know and remember to keep in your heads too. Applies to everyone.
DEAR ABBY: I would like to warn women, especially young women, about the danger of giving their car keys, with their house keys attached, to anyone. A good friend's daughter went to a well-known tire company to have a flat repaired while she waited. Without thinking, she handed her key ring with all her keys on it to the serviceman and waited. What she didn't know is that most of these places also have machines that make copies of keys. One of the servicemen copied her apartment key, and two days later entered her apartment late at night and raped her. This was a business she frequented, and they had all the information in their computer about where she lived, her phone number, etc. The man was caught months later and the police found out that he had done this before. He is now in jail, and my friend's daughter is trying to go on with her life. I called my daughter right away and told her this story so she could learn from it, too. Please, Abby, warn your readers to have their personal keys on another key ring or have a key ring that separates the car keys from one's personal keys. Perhaps this will save another woman from tragedy. MARILYN IN MARIETTA, GA.
DEAR MARILYN: You may never know how many tragedies you have prevented today. Your letter is a chilling reminder, and I hope my readers will heed it.
"PLEASE SHARE THIS INFORMATION WITH SOMEONE YOU CARE ABOUT!!!!
END CHAIN LETTER TEXT
This letter did appear in Dear Abby in August, 1999. However, appearing in a syndicated advice column doesn't necessarily confirm the story. It is the third-hand relating of events that allegedly occurred to "a good friend's daughter." With the author so removed from the source, there is little reason to believe the story is any more than a fictitious scene created to illustrate a possible, though unfeasible, nightmare scenario. There has been no rash of such crimes reported by any valid and reliable source.
This is typical urban legend: advice dressed up as a cautionary tale for dramatic impact. Of course, it is a good idea to always be mindful of whom you give access to your keys. However, the advice in this letter is full of inconsistencies, generalities and other misinformation. Break this Chain!