“Friendship” chain email claims that the recipient will be able to view a funny video clip if he or she sends it to at least seven other people.
MAY YOU ALWAYS HAVE A RAINBOW OF SMILES ON YOUR FACE AND IN YOUR HEART FOREVER AND EVER!
Forward this to at least 7 people and see what happens on your screen . You will laugh your head off!!!!!!!!!!!
This is the coolest thing I have ever gotten.. All you have to do is send it to 7 people and watch your screen, it is the funniest clip. I can’t tell you what is but I was laughing so hard I almost fell off my chair!!! So, send it to those 7 people and watch.
The above message is just one among dozens of similar email chain letters that claim that “something” will happen if the recipient forwards the message to a specified number of others. This example claims that a very funny video clip will appear on the user’s computer screen once he or she has forwarded it to at least seven other people. Other versions claim that a picture will appear or will change, a program will launch, or the computer will behave in an unexpected way when the messages are forwarded to others. This version masquerades as a simple message about friendship. In other cases, the message may have a religious or spiritual message.
Regardless of the specific content of the messages, none will deliver the promised surprise. These messages are simply juvenile pranks designed to trick people into forwarding the emails onward. Many recipients are fooled into sending on such messages in the forlorn hope that the promised “surprise” will appear on their screens. Alas, in reality, nothing whatsoever will appear. By promising that “something” will happen, these hoax messages employ an integrated mechanism for self-propagation and may therefore keep circulating for months or even years at a time. By the time that the recipient realizes that nothing is going to happen, he or she will have already sent on the message to several other people.
Since I first began researching email hoaxes several years ago, I have received hundreds of these silly “forward for a surprise” emails. However, in spite of thorough testing “just in case”, not one has ever worked as promised. Moreover, an examination of the underlying source code of such messages reveals no hidden programs or scripts that could possibly launch the promised surprise or any evidence that any such mechanism was ever included.
While these prank emails are certainly less potentially harmful than other varieties of email nonsense, they still needlessly clutter inboxes with even more useless garbage. Moreover, they are apt to make the sender look rather foolish in the eyes of his or her more computer literate friends.
Last updated: 23rd June 2008
First published: 23rd June 2008
By Brett M. Christensen
Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!