I want this to be the epitaph on my headstone

So today I got the following email from a family member who shall remain nameless. My response follows the email.


To all of my friends, I do not usually forward messages, But this is from my friend Pearlas Sandborn and she really is an attorney. If she says that this will work it will work. After all, what have you got to lose?


SORRY EVERYBODY.. JUST HAD TO TAKE THE CHANCE!!! I'm an attorney, and I know the law. This thing is for real. Rest assured AOL and Intel will follow through with their promises for fear of facing a multimillion-dollar class action suit similar to the one filed by PepsiCo against General Electric not too long ago.

Dear Friends,
Please 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 (if 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 weeks, Microsoft will contact you for your address and then send you a cheque.

thought this was a scam myself, but two weeks after receiving this e-mail and forwarding it on, Microsoft contacted me for my address and within days, I received a cheque for US$24,800.00. You need to respond before the beta testing is over. If anyone can afford this Bill Gates is the man. It's all marketing expense to him. Please forward this to as many people as possible. You are bound to get at least US$10,000.00.

We're not going to help them out with their e-mail beta test without getting a little something for our time. My brother's girlfriend got in on this a few months ago. When I went to visit him for the Baylor/UT game. She showed me her check. It was for the sum of $4,324.44 and was stamped "Paid In Full".


This e-mail (the information and any accompanying documents) is intended only for the personal and confidential use of the intended recipient. It may also contain information that is privileged. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient or the employee or agent responsible for delivering it to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that you have received this information in error. If you have received this information in error, please notify the sender and do not copy, distribute, disclose the contents or use the information for any purpose. Please destroy such a communication and its contents immediately and delete them from your email. Any review, dissemination, distribution,copying or action taken in reliance on the contents of such a communication is strictly prohibited.

Why did you fall for this stupid chain letter scam? The next time you think about forwarding something like this to me why don't you send me a nice personal hello email instead. Falling for this just makes you look greedy and insensitive.

Let me show you how to spot a scam email.


2.) Did Bill Gates write anything in the body of the message? Why would he pay you for forwarding a message from some guy who knows an attorney? Why would he pay you period when he could be buying AIDS drugs for African orphans?

3.) Two seconds of Googling for the name Pearlas Sandborn leads you to many sites detailing the hoax like this one http://www.hoax-slayer.com/ms-money-giveway-hoax.html

4.) Nobody but Starr Jones says, "I'm an attorney and I know the law."

5.) AOL and Intel are not companies run by Bill Gates. In fact Intel is mentioned once and then not again. AOL is mentioned twice but both conflict with the original premise, i.e. that Bill Gates will be paying you for forwarding email.

6.) Bill Gates gives away his fortune to charity causes, not to people who forward email indiscriminately.

7.) Class action lawsuits are not filed between large companies like Pepsi and General Electric. Class action lawsuits are filed by a group of citizens against another defendant usually a company. Hence the term class action.

8.) The first sentences of legitimate emails do not start "Please do not take this for a junk letter." That is how junk letters start. They also don't usually have multiple spelling and grammatical errors.

9.) AOL couldn't care less how Internet Explorer does in the marketplace. You may not care or remember but AOL bought Netscape in 1998. Big companies don't work together to give money away they work to make it. If they give money away their stockholders can sue them.

10.) Does it make you a little concerned that Microsoft can track every email you send? Yeah, so either they can't or maybe you shouldn't be sending so many emails to your "Celine Dion fan club mailing list."

11.) Let's do some quick math: This email was forwarded to 24 people. If they each also forward to 24 people and so on within 7 iterations adds up to $11 trillion. The national debt is only $8.8 trillion. Bill Gates net worth is estimated at $53 billion. That's a lot but I bet this email made it through more than 7 iterations.

12.) The idiot that forwarded it to you used his company's email account which adds a privacy notice that requires you to delete the email if you were not the primary intended recipient.

13.) It comes from Nigeria.

...and there you have it. Is forwarding this crap particularly harmful? No, but it does tell me you don't care enough about me to consider my time too important to waste deleting ridiculous forwarded emails in order to get to the emails from you that I really do want to read. I want to read your important emails, that's why I'm in your addressbook, but if I have to wade through ten pieces of spam for one honest communication it's not worth it to me.