Since the beginning of the internet era, we have come across a number of chain letters. Quite a number of people, I’m afraid, are naive enough to actually believe the contents of these e-mails. Yesterday, I received this e-mail from a good friend of mine:
Pl ease do not take this for a junk letter. Bill Gates is sharing his fortune. If you ignore this you will repent later. Microsoft and AOL are now the largest Internet companies and in an effort to make sure that Internet Explorer remains the most widely used program, Microsoft and AOL are running an e-mail beta test.
When you forward this e-mail to friends, Microsoft can and will track it (i f you are a Microsoft Windows user) for a two week time period.
For every person that you forward this e-mail to, Microsoft will pay you $245.00, for every person that you sent it to that forwards it on, Microsoft will pay you $243.00 and for every third person that receives it, you will be paid $241.00. Within two week! s, Microsoft will contact you for your address and then send you a cheque.
To make the e-mail more attractive, there are testimonials in the e-mail stating things like this is true, they’ve received USD200,000, a few has received USD10,000 and bla bla bla. And then at the bottom, there are a few people who said, “Try it out! You won’t lose anything! It’s worth a try.” They said that you will get a cheque from Bill/Melinda Gates Foundation.
Alright…. First of all, if you don’t know by now, this e-mail is a hoax. Think about it. Bill/Melinda Gates Foundation is a charity organisation. Logically, charities were set up in the first place to help the poor and the unfortunates. Why would Bill Gates hand out money to some random folks? Wouldn’t it be wiser for him to use that money to help, let’s say, the Africans instead? Or for the research of AIDS’ cure? Or perhaps research to cure malaria? Come on, Bill Gates is a self-made billionaire and the richest man on earth. I’m sure he’s smarter than that.
Second of all, Microsoft and AOL are two different companies. They are competitors. They won’t run an e-mail test together.
Third of all, there is no such thing as an ‘e-mail tracker’ as stated above. Well, not that I know of anyway.
So, to those who affirm that “It’s worth a try”, let me tell you this. The e-mail was forwarded many many times before. A lot of e-mail addresses are listed on that e-mail. Soon, the e-mail shall return to the original sender. He then harvests your e-mail addresses, store it in a database, and sell it to businesses and etc. Wonder why we receive spam e-mails?
To sum it up, everybody, stop forwarding these kinds of e-mails. Second, if you want to forward e-mails (other than chain letters of course), enter the addresses of your friends in the “BCC” form instead of the normal “CC”. This way, their e-mail addresses won’t be visible.
Sorry to disappoint you, Bill Gates will not share his fortune. Not with some random folks.
By the way:
Official statement from Microsoft:
REDMOND, Wash., May 12, 1999 – Recently an email has been circulating on the Internet about a new “email tracking system” from Microsoft.
As you may have suspected, this is a hoax and did not originate from Microsoft.
Microsoft does try to investigate the source of these hoaxes and take appropriate action. However, many times the hoaxers take elaborate steps to shield their true identities and we cannot identify them. Privacy and security are very important to us here at Microsoft, and we work every day to build great software for the Internet that keeps information safe, secure and private.
We regret any inconvenience this may have caused you.
Official statement from Bill Gates:
Even more annoying than spam, in some respects, are hoaxes. I’m acutely aware of this because my name was recently attached to a hoax email message that was widely distributed.
People embellished the fraudulent email over time, as it was forwarded from electronic mailbox to electronic mailbox, but an early version read this way:
“My name is Bill Gates. I have just written up an e-mail tracing program that traces everyone to whom this message is forwarded to. I am experimenting with this and I need your help. Forward this to everyone you know and if it reaches 1000 people everyone on the list will receive $1000 at my expense. Enjoy. Your friend, Bill Gates.”
The bogus message was widely forwarded, which surely led to some disappointment from people who hoped to receive $1,000 for passing along what was essentially a chain letter.
— From “On Spam: Wasting Time on the Internet,” published in 1998