Myth: Send Out Bulk Email and Get Rich Today!
Make.Money.Fast. E-mail is the perfect way to send out chain letters, isn’t it? A few keystrokes will send ten of your closest friends this most famous of Internet scams: the MAKE.MONEY.FAST chain letter. Send it to your close friends, though, and you may end up with some very close enemies, instead! Or worse, you could end up in jail.
Earn 10,000 A Day! The sender assures you that this scam worked for him or her and was perfectly legal — he made over $400,000 after sending out bulk email. He was destitute, and had been driven to this desperate solution after being hounded by bill collectors. (Somehow he could still afford his computer, modem, and e-mail account. Go figure.) And as the years have passed, other people have tacked their names and success stories onto the letter, making the document a monster of testimonials of financial empowerment and pleas that the chain not be broken.
Email Chain Letters Are Illegal. Well, just as chain letters are illegal when sent via “snail-mail” through the U.S. Post Office, these e-mail chain letters are more than a simple disk-space-wasting nuisance. The FCC can prosecute participants for wire fraud, because the letter falsely claims that the process is a legal mailing list subscription service. Prosecution is difficult, however: proving an e-mail letter’s originator is nearly impossible. Many communications software packages permit forging of information; and anyone who doesn’t know how to forge can simply tell the court, “Um, yeah, um, someone broke into my computer and sent it without my permission, yeah.”
Unsolicited Email Doesn’t Pay. Send out these chain letters and bulk email at your own risk. The only people making money with unsolicited bulk email are the people selling bulk mailer software or lists of addresses and a very few marginal operations that have very little reputation to lose and don’t make much money anyway. At first sight the numbers look attractive but the fact is that most netizens detest spam and if you try it you will probably lose money are ruin your reputation.
If You Get Spammed By A Email Scam. The FTC maintains an e-mailbox — email@example.com — where consumers can forward unsolicited commercial e-mail that they believe may be fraudulent or deceptive. The electronic address receives approximately 500 e-mails a day. Consumers also forward large volumes of unsolicited commercial e-mail to the U.S. Postal Service. The agencies review these collections for e-mail that appears to be deceptive or fraudulent, in violation of the FTC Act or the Postal Lottery Statute. Letters are then sent to the e-mailers warning them about participating in schemes that may violate the law.
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