Stop Sending Me Chain Letters Because They Can Be Dangerous!

"Hey everyone, do me a favour and please DO NOT send any more chain letters to me at all... through social media messenger, my Timeline, or my inbox. No flashing hearts or flowers telling me I need to send the message to 10 people, including me if I'm your friend, etc. Many of these have been found to result in the rapid widespread of viruses. And, it's how people are getting their online accounts hacked as well. I appreciate you thinking of me and I love you too, but I wouldn't be showing you that I care if you end up getting hacked, your computer or mobile device getting infected with viruses or some other malware. Just know 'I love you.' Thank you for your cooperation in advance."

Stop Sending Me Chain Letters Because They Can Be Dangerous!

If you receive chain letters from your friends or family members you may send them the message above to help educate them about the dangers of chain letters. It is true than chain letters can help spread links to phishing scams that steal online account credentials or malicious websites that infect computers or mobile devices with viruses, spyware, ransomware or other malware.

What is a Chain Letter?

A typical chain letter consists of a message that attempts to convince the recipient to make a number of copies of the letter and then pass them on to a certain number of recipients. Originally, chain letters were letters one received in the mail. Today, chain letters are often sent via email messages, postings on social network sites, and text messages.

There are two main types of chain letters:

  • Hoaxes - Hoaxes attempt to trick or defraud users. A hoax could be malicious, instructing users to delete a file necessary to the operating system by claiming it is a virus. It could also be a scam that convinces users to send money or personal information. Phishing attacks could fall into this.
  • Urban legends - Urban legends are designed to be redistributed and usually warn users of a threat or claim to be notifying them of important or urgent information. Another common form is the emails that promise users monetary rewards for forwarding the message or suggest that they are signing something that will be submitted to a particular group. Urban legends usually have no negative effect aside from wasted time.

In the United States, chain letters that request money or other items of value and promise a substantial return to the participants (such as the infamous Make Money Fast scheme) are illegal.

Examples of chain letters

  • "If you're reading this you can't stop. Hi my name is Mary. I'm 15, I have long black hair, and no nose. I'm in a white dress, and if you don't copy this on 5 other videos, I will stand behind you with a knife, and kill you. If you do I will give you a prize."
  • "few years ago, two parents went out for dinner. A few hours later, the babysitter was calling to ask if she could cover up the clown statue in the kids' room. The father said, "Take the kids and get out of the house. We'll call the police, we don't have a clown statue." The "clown statue" is really a killer that escaped from jail. If you don't post this letter on to 10 videos tonight, the clown will be in your bed at 3:00 am with a chainsaw in his hand."
  • "There was a boy who loved a girl, and she loved him back. Neither knew about it. They’d go to school every day and pass each other in the hallways, wishing they had the courage to speak up but never mustering it. She was on the debate team and thought he found her dorky. He played on the football team and thought she found him to be a dumb jock. This went on week after week, month after month, until they graduated and moved away from each other. They dreamed about each other and constantly wondered where the other was.

    She settled for a handsome man and pretended to be happy. He saw she’d married and grew bitter, angry, and jealous. He hardened his heart and joined the Marines, focusing on his country and trying to forget her. He was fearless and won many medals. She dropped the phone and stared in amazement at the TV, watching the love of her life honored in front of the country. He beamed, wishing she were in the crowd to see him at his proudest moment. She saw his bravery in his battle scars and felt humbled, inspired. The love in her soul reawakened. She left the newsroom and took the job as a war correspondent, following in her love’s footsteps. She kissed her husband goodbye, promising him she’d be safe.

    He was deployed in the east, and she covered the relentless assault that began on a camp of U.S. soldiers.

    As a reporter, she knew to watch and not participate. She was trained to be neutral, a fly on the wall, to record only. But when she saw the hailstorm of bullets about to ravage the body of a young man loading his rifle, her instincts took over and she dove on top of him, shielding him, saving him.

    The man rolled over, dragging the foolish reporter behind his tank. His heart sank. It was the girl. She wiped the sand from her forehead and saw the boy through her tear-filled eyes. Thousands of miles from home and years of life apart, they’d found each other again. He brushed the tears from her cheek; she smiled and squeezed his hand, held his face in her palm, whispered that she loved him, then closed her eyes. She’d taken four bullets for the boy. He held her for hours until his commanding officer arrived to take the girl home.

    Never wait to tell someone that you love them. You never know when it will be too late. Send this to five people you love."

Check the comment section below for additional information, share what you know, or ask a question about this article by leaving a comment below. And, to quickly find answers to your questions, use our search Search engine.

Note: Some of the information in samples on this website may have been impersonated or spoofed.

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Comments, Questions, Answers, or Reviews

Comments (Total: 5)

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December 12, 2018 at 10:42 AM by
Stop Sending Me Chain Letters Because They Can Be Dangerous!
an anonymous user from: Petah Tikva, Merkaz, Israel

Do not send me those masseges, it bothers me.


March 20, 2018 at 2:39 PM by
Stop Sending Me Chain Letters Because They Can Be Dangerous!
an anonymous user from: Jacksonville, Florida, United States

Alright everyone listen up. Chain letters do not get sent by the person on your chat these are bugs that auto send them to you. They're not sending them. A friend of mine asked if I sent her a chain letter to her messenger and that letter did not show in my messenger when it was sent but I only saw the one she sent to me asking if I meant to send it.

I deleted it told her I didn't send it. Your friend doesn't know it's being sent through their messenger to you. Please delete the message and remove it from your phone if it's an image. Do not respond to posts that say leave a hug or say hello or leave an emojI to respond do not like and comment either if posted on friend's wall on Facebook or it'll auto send chain letters. I tested my idea and not long after I commented on it I got a chain letter.


March 25, 2018 at 11:27 AM by
Stop Sending Me Chain Letters Because They Can Be Dangerous!
an anonymous user from: Frankfurt, Hesse, Germany

they are not bugs, but hacks.

Dont open any attachments, not via email, nor via facebook!

Normal chain mesages are not the problem. But hacks, that come from opening malicious attachments are. They hack your session, or even your login data and send chain messages in your name.


November 21, 2017 at 1:45 PM by
Stop Sending Me Chain Letters Because They Can Be Dangerous!
an anonymous user from: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

How can these things be blocked on Messenger iPhone and iPad?


November 10, 2017 at 6:25 AM by
Stop Sending Me Chain Letters Because They Can Be Dangerous!
an anonymous user from: Carson City, Nevada, United States

There used to be a website called "Friends Don't Let Friends Send Chain Letters". The website may be gone, but the advice is timeless.


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Online Threat Alerts Security Tips

Pay the safest way

Credit cards are the safest way to pay for online purchases because you can dispute the charges if you never get the goods or services or if the offer was misrepresented. Federal law limits your liability to $50 if someone makes unauthorized charges to your account, and most credit card issuers will remove them completely if you report the problem promptly.

Guard your personal information

In any transaction you conduct, make sure to check with your state or local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if the seller, charity, company, or organization is credible. Be especially wary if the entity is unfamiliar to you. Always call the number found on a website’s contact information to make sure the number legitimately belongs to the entity you are dealing with.

Be careful of the information you share

Never give out your codes, passwords or personal information, unless you are sure of who you're dealing with

Know who you’re dealing with

Crooks pretending to be from companies you do business with may call or send an email, claiming they need to verify your personal information. Don’t provide your credit card or bank account number unless you are actually paying for something and know who you are sending payment to. Your social security number should not be necessary unless you are applying for credit. Be especially suspicious if someone claiming to be from a company with whom you have an account asks for information that the business already has.

Check your accounts

Regularly check your account transactions and report any suspicious or unauthorised transactions.

Don’t believe promises of easy money

If someone claims that you can earn money with little or no work, get a loan or credit card even if you have bad credit, or make money on an investment with little or no risk, it’s probably a scam. Oftentimes, offers that seem too good to be true, actually are too good to be true.

Do not open email from people you don’t know

If you are unsure whether an email you received is legitimate, try contacting the sender directly via other means. Do not click on any links in an email unless you are sure it is safe.

Think before you click

If an email or text message looks suspicious, don’t open any attachments or click on the links.

Verify urgent requests or unsolicited emails, messages or phone calls before you respond

If you receive a message or a phone call asking for immediate action and don't know the sender, it could be a phishing message.

Be careful with links and new website addresses

Malicious website addresses may appear almost identical to legitimate sites. Scammers often use a slight variation in spelling or logo to lure you. Malicious links can also come from friends whose email has unknowingly been compromised, so be careful.

Secure your personal information

Before providing any personal information, such as your date of birth, Social Security number, account numbers, and passwords, be sure the website is secure.

Stay informed on the latest cyber threats

Keep yourself up to date on current scams by visiting this website daily.

Use Strong Passwords

Strong passwords are critical to online security.

Keep your software up to date and maintain preventative software programs

Keep all of your software applications up to date on your computers and mobile devices. Install software that provides antivirus, firewall, and email filter services.

Update the operating systems on your electronic devices

Make sure your operating systems (OSs) and applications are up to date on all of your electronic devices. Older and unpatched versions of OSs and software are the target of many hacks. Read the CISA security tip on Understanding Patches and Software Updates for more information.

What if You Got Scammed?

Stop Contact With The Scammer

Hang up the phone. Do not reply to emails, messages, or letters that the scammer sends. Do not make any more payments to the scammer. Beware of additional scammers who may contact you claiming they can help you get your lost money back.

Secure Your Finances

  • Report potentially compromised bank account, credit or debit card information to your financial institution(s) immediately. They may be able to cancel or reverse fraudulent transactions.
  • Notify the three major credit bureaus. They can add a fraud alert to warn potential credit grantors that you may be a victim of identity theft. You may also want to consider placing a free security freeze on your credit report. Doing so prevents lenders and others from accessing your credit report entirely, which will prevent them from extending credit:

Check Your Computer

If your computer was accessed or otherwise affected by a scam, check to make sure that your anti-virus is up-to-date and running and that your system is free of malware and keylogging software. You may also need to seek the help of a computer repair company. Consider utilizing the Better Business Bureau’s website to find a reputable company.

Change Your Account Passwords

Update your bank, credit card, social media, and email account passwords to try to limit further unauthorized access. Make sure to choose strong passwords when changing account passwords.

Report The Scam

Reporting helps protect others. While agencies can’t always track down perpetrators of crimes against scammers, they can utilize the information gathered to record patterns of abuse which may lead to action being taken against a company or industry.

Report your issue to the following agencies based on the nature of the scam:

  • Local Law Enforcement: Consumers are encouraged to report scams to their local police department or sheriff’s office, especially if you lost money or property or had your identity compromised.
  • Federal Trade Commission: Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or use the Online Complaint Assistant to report various types of fraud, including counterfeit checks, lottery or sweepstakes scams, and more.
  • If someone is using your personal information, like your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number, to open new accounts, make purchases, or get a tax refund, report it at This federal government site will also help you create your Identity Theft Report and a personal recovery plan based on your situation. Questions can be directed to 877-ID THEFT.

How To Recognize a Phishing Scam

Scammers use email or text messages to try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. If they get that information, they could get access to your email, bank, or other accounts. Or they could sell your information to other scammers. Scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks like these every day — and they’re often successful.

Scammers often update their tactics to keep up with the latest news or trends, but here are some common tactics used in phishing emails or text messages:

Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. You might get an unexpected email or text message that looks like it’s from a company you know or trust, like a bank or a credit card or utility company. Or maybe it’s from an online payment website or app. The message could be from a scammer, who might

  • say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts — they haven’t
  • claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information — there isn’t
  • say you need to confirm some personal or financial information — you don’t
  • include an invoice you don’t recognize — it’s fake
  • want you to click on a link to make a payment — but the link has malware
  • say you’re eligible to register for a government refund — it’s a scam
  • offer a coupon for free stuff — it’s not real

About Online Threat Alerts (OTA)

Online Threat Alerts or OTA is an anti-cybercrime community that started in 2012. OTA alerts the public to cyber crimes and other web threats.

By alerting the public, we have prevented a lot of online users from getting scammed or becoming victims of cybercrimes.

With the ever-increasing number of people going online, it important to have a community like OTA that continuously alerts or protects those same people from cyber-criminals, scammers and hackers, who are every day finding new ways of carrying out their malicious activities.

Online users can help by reporting suspicious or malicious messages or websites to OTA. And, if they want to determine if a message or website is a threat or scam, they can use OTA's search engine to search for the website or parts of the message for information.

Help maintain Online Threat Alerts (OTA).

Stop Sending Me Chain Letters Because They Can Be Dangerous!