Opinion page by Duane Alan Hahn.
To protect your friends and family from spammers, stalkers, swindlers, and who knows what else, use BCC instead of TO or CC when sending group e-mails. If you have a good quality e-mail service, there should be a TO box, a CC box, and a BCC box or button. If you don't see a BCC box or button, Google it and find out where it is.
You might think that it's not a big deal, but when you send a group e-mail without using BCC, it's usually not just going to be seen by the people you send it to. They will send it to their friends, and they will send it to their friends, and it goes on and on until all of those e-mail addresses get in the hands of 'evil doers.' Then our e-mail boxes get filled with tons of unwanted e-mails including those tricky e-mails designed to get your credit card number and other personal information.
As others have said many times before, treat e-mail addresses like they are private phone numbers. Don't ever give out another person's e-mail address without his or her permission. That includes filling out forms at web sites that encourage you to 'tell a friend.'
If you get an e-mail claiming if you forward it that some company will help a dying child or donate money or that Microsoft will pay you, don't fall for it even if a friend or relative forwarded the e-mail to you. If you get an e-mail saying that you'll have good luck or that something will happen on your computer screen if you forward it to enough people, don't fall for that either. Same for those e-mails that threaten bad luck if you don't do what they say. It's all crap that should be deleted the moment you get it. Think about it. How could anything good, bad, or magical happen? How would anyone know how many times you sent an e-mail?
Have you ever received an e-mail that said you should forward it to a bunch of people if you love Jesus? Did you delete it immediately? If you didn't, you weren't doing Jesus any favors. Jesus doesn't want you to help criminals and spammers to collect e-mail addresses. If you are a Christian, you should feel deeply offended by e-mails like that. You'd think that Christians would know better, but they are some of the worst offenders. And if that wasn't bad enough, many Christians repeatedly perform these evil deeds even after knowing they are helping the forces of darkness.
No one will be helped, nothing magical will happen, and Jesus won't love you more if you forward these stupid e-mails. The only people you help are the criminals who started these chain letters in the first place. As soon as you get a chain letter, delete it and tell the person who sent it to stop being an idiot. If that person calls you opinionated and tactless, you can tell them that's better than being a clueless half-wit that helps evil people collect e-mail addresses.
How to Copy and Paste
Whenever you feel the need to forward an e-mail, how about just copying the actual message and pasting it inside of a new e-mail? That way it will be free of all e-mail addresses and any extra garbage. Only the main message will be sent. It's amazing how a simple copy and paste can make things so much better for everyone.
Before you pass along the main message of an e-mail, make sure it's not a huge waste of time for the people you're sending it to. Many forwarded e-mails are chain letters, urban legends, made-up alarmist info, and similar stuff. Before you pass along some stupid message that begs people to forward it to everyone they know, take a couple of minutes to make sure it's real (it's probably not). Here are a few web sites where you can check on this junk before you send it so you won't look like a fool:
Most of that junk e-mail is created by spammers (in disguise) who ask you to forward the e-mail to as many people as possible because the spammer knows that most people are idiots and he will eventually collect that multi-forwarded e-mail full of nice juicy e-mail addresses.
It is your responsibility to protect your family and friends. It's up to you to spread the word about BCC and forwarding and to be a good example. Even if everyone you know is too stupid or lazy to do the right thing, that doesn't mean you have to be the same way. You can help to enlighten them. If you are too scared or uptight to say anything yourself, you can at least send offenders here and let this page speak for you.
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