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Stop Sending Me Chain Letters Because They Can Be Dangerous!

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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."

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."

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