By Simonne Ram & Nina Reshef
Many people are familiar by now with snopes.com (English) and/or http://irrelevant.org.il (Hebrew) for determining whether information received in an email is: true/false or fact/fiction. For those who are not, we are distributing some of their important advice about opening email equivalents of chain letters.
You should be aware that any time you see an email that says "forward this on to '10' (or however many) of your friends", "sign this petition", or "you'll get bad/good luck" or "you'll see something funny on your screen after you send it" or whatever, the email usually has a tracker program attached that tracks the cookies and emails of those to whom you forward the message. This includes emails that talk about a missing child or a child with an incurable disease. Ignore them and don't participate! Tracking means that the host sender is getting a copy of each forwarded, which he adds to a list for use when sending spam or selling to other spammers.
Also, when you add the names at the top of your email, don't put them in the “To:” line or the “Cc:” line – put them in the “Bcc:” line. This way, the recipients will receive their email saying that you sent it to Undisclosed Recipients. All computers have this feature. To add a Bcc: line to a new message just open a new message as if you were going to send it, click on View (at the top) and then click on All Headers. The BCC line addition should be there.
So, do yourself a favor and stop adding your name(s) to those emails regardless of how inviting they might sound. You may think you are supporting a great cause, but you are not! You may open yourself to getting tons of junk mail and very possibly a virus!
Lastly: Email petitions are NOT acceptable to Government or any other organization such as social security, etc. To be acceptable, petitions must have a "signed signature" and full address of the person signing the petition, so this is a waste of time and you are just helping the email trackers.