STOP! Are You Forwarding Jokes Or Spams?

It is truly said that the world is growing smaller. And emails are one way which has helped us to communicate with our loved ones. They allow us to stay in touch with people all across the world and forwards are a wonderful way of indicating, ‘I remember you’. We forward jokes, amazing pics, philosophical sayings, office humour etc. But then, very few of us realize that forwards have a dark side too; the side that can cause harm to you or your Internet-enabled  devices.

To reiterate my point, I would like to give a case in point: I returned home from a holiday and switched on my PC to check mails and found 105 mails awaiting my attention. Of these almost 50% were Forwards! Some of these required me to forward them to 9 or more for good luck to knock on my door!

Consider this mail a kind friend forwarded. It required that I forward it to every friend that I have online, including the sender, to show how much I care about  her! And I had to do this that very same day!

There were also forwards sent by unknown people offering products at a discount,  and supplying details of online courses or money-spinning opportunities. They have a typical tagline, ‘If this mail doesn’t apply to you, do forward it to your friends.’

Then there were those ‘religious’ mails that say Lady Luck will smile on you if you forward the mail to at least 10 others. Else, you might be struck by a spate of bad luck like others who suffered terrible tribulations for failing to perform the simple task of clicking on the ‘forward’ icon

Check this site for more chain mail hoaxes.

My take on troubling forwarded mails from friends

Now, I am not a superstitious person, nor timid enough to give in to veiled threats contained in such mails. But I feel really vexed on receiving mails from friends that outline the misfortunes that might befall my unsuspecting family if I ignore them. So I have a plan to tackle such junk and let my friends know my opinion on these forwards without having to say a word. I just forward it to the sender, and no one else. And you know what? There has been a definite drop in the number of such mails since then.

Why are forwards not always good

a)  They overload your inbox and can lead you to miss important mails

b)  They are usually full of promotional material of no use to you

c)  Often they contain links or attachments that are sources of virus or Trojans

d) Companies and websites send random forwards and if you click on the supplied link out of curiosity, they will start sending you more emails or spread virus

e) Scamsters try to collect your data by asking you to open links for which you have to use your password or offer other details

f) If your account gets hacked, it will be used to spread spam to all your contacts

Look out for these tell-tale signs

a) The tag line of “Send this email to everyone in your address book”

b)  There are no verifiable references or addresses to validate claims

c)  There are grammatical errors in the text and the writing style is overly dramatic

d) Requires opening links, downloading attachments or use of passwords or phone numbers

So, consider before you forward every single email and send only those mails that you really enjoy or those that are interesting and informative. Also, open mails from people you know and always verify with the sender first if the mail looks dubious.

And before you forward that super cool joke, consider these:

  • Would the recipient like receiving forwards on his/her official mail id or personal id
  • Are the email ids of all recipients visible to all? Use BCC to hide ids
  • Erase all ids contained in the forwarded mail for privacy and security reasons
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