It was not the first time, and certainly not the last time. It has happened to you at least twice, too. You don’t exactly want to tell people not to “mail” you, in case they might, someday, actually say something to you. Even though they have never sent you a personal message they wrote themselves. And so you will receive those emails intended for everyone you’ve ever emailed.
A few months ago I forwarded a message to two people, thinking it was a good idea to share this one. I didn’t share it with more people because it seemed just a little iffy, just didn’t fully seem on the level. I addressed it to two friends I felt sure would examine it.
One of them replied in short order and said something to the effect of, “Jim, it is a hoax. You can look it up at http://factcheck.org. I did and you can see the explanation for yourself. I think people are just phishing for email addresses. I never forward messages like this unless I research them first.”
A couple of examples come to mind. One is a warning, for the third or fifth or more years, to program ICE numbers in your cellphone so emergency workers can know who to call for you. Another is a warning about some health hazard or other, again something old and worn by now and not meriting copying to “everyone you know”.
And there are countless versions about legislative considerations. You can see these yourself at http://snopes.com or http://factcheck.org. So many of these (maybe all of them?) ask you to help your friends by just sharing the message. If you forward this message to everyone you know and they also do so, we can stop a former democratic party presidential candidate from selling books about global chilling. . .
Okay, great lesson for me. Researching messages forwarded to me might keep me from forwarding messages that clog email and internet and waste people’s time, while possibly only adding a bunch of email addresses out there in the aether for someone to stumble upon and sell. I don’t want to contribute to this.
Last week I received three messages about a Social Security scare. Is the US Congress really granting Social Security benefits to illegal aliens? Again, you can check this out at either factcheck or snopes. No, I didn’t forward it.
The third message was a reply all from one of the hundreds of recipients, and his reply was short and to the point.
He said, “When you receive a message telling you to forward to everyone you know, just pretend you don’t know me!”