Let’s get this straight: Chain letters are complete rubbish - and have no impact on your life or the lives of others!
There are some telltale signs that allow you to recognise a chain letter:
- Chain letters ask the recipient to forward the message on to as many people as possible within a limited period of time.
- The topic of a chain letter, and its possible consequences, are often portrayed as dramatic and are exagerrated.
- Any references in the message to time are normally very vague, e.g. ‘yesterday’ or ‘last week’.
- Chain letters are often full of spelling mistakes.
The most common kinds of chain letters:
- Fortune letters: These emails promise that something positive will happen when the message is forwarded on to as many people as possible within a certain time – you will find your true love, for example.
- Emotional pleas: The stories that are depicted in these chain letters are fictitious, and are disrespectful towards those individuals who do suffer from serious illnesses.
- Pointless e-petitions: This category includes those chain-letter movements that ask you to support or condemn something.
- Urban Legends: These are like modern myths and involve the spreading of false information (poisonous ingredients in restaurants, for example). They are simply the product of someone’s imagination.
- Competitions: These are normally chain letters that promise you money or prizes if you forward the message on to as many people as possible.
Reacting to chain letters:
Don’t do anything that a chain letters asks you to do. Break the chain by not sending it on to people, but simply deleting it. Write the sender a message that the chain letter contains misinformation.