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Help Nirosha Silva By Forwarding Hoax

by Brett M. Christensen

Email claims that, every time the message is forwarded, AOL will donate money to help Nirosha Silva pay medical bills for her seriously injured husband.

Brief Analysis:
This email is a hoax. AOL certainly will not donate money to help this family every time the email is forwarded. Any message that claims that money will be donated in exchange for forwarding an email is virtually certain to be a hoax.

Subject: Pleeeeeeez,Read this…

Urgent Please read & forward

Dear All,
Don’t Need to send Money. You need to forward and She will get the donation for each mail. So please forward to the maximum People you can.
Pleeeeeeez, Read this… & forward it……
Forward to as many as you can.


Dear Reader,

I am writing this on behalf of my loving husband.

Everything was fine, me, my husband and our two children. We had a happy family. My husband was an Engineer in a big company. He comes home early and helps me with the house chores and plays with the children..

Our dreams was shattered in front of our eyes last week. It was a drunk lorry driver, who came on the wrong side and hit us and went.

It killed my little baby girl and left my husband paralysed. My husband is still in the hospital. His brain is damaged and he needs an operation. I need 5 lakhs to save his life. I have collected about 3 lahks from my friends and family. I need another 2 lakhs. I don’t want to lose him. He is such a wonderful husband & father.

He still doesn’t know we lost our little girl. I am looking after my son now. Without my husband I won’t be able to take care of him. Please help me save my husband the one person I dearly love. I have already lost my daughter and I don’t want to lose my husband as well.

Please help us.

Thank you very much for your love & support. May God bless you.

Yours Truly,
Nirosha Silva

(I know you don’t like to forward mails. I am really sorry to bother you. If you have a heart and like to help a family, please forward this mail. Every time you forward this it will add 5 cents per email ID to AOL and they will deposit it into my bank account. Which will help me save my husband.)

Detailed Analysis:
This email forward purports to be a plea from one “Nirosha Silva” who needs help to cover the cost of an operation to save the life of her husband, who was badly injured in a hit and run accident that also killed her daughter. Nirosha explains that she has already raised 3 lakhs, but needs another 2 lakhs to pay for the operation. The message claims that AOL will donate 5 cents to the family every time the email is forwarded.

While it is possible that the event described in the message may have actually occurred, the claim that AOL will donate money for every forwarded email is pure nonsense. A long line of other supposed charity emails have made similar “money for forwarding” claims. However, all such claims are unfounded. Any claim that a company or charitable organization will donate money based on how many times an email is forwarded, is virtually certain to be false. No sane and reputable organization would ever consider participating in such an outlandish scheme. And, even if one did, there is no reliable or ethical way of tracking how many times an email was forwarded and, therefore, no way of ascertaining how much money was due to be donated.

Versions of this particular hoax email have been circulating since at least 2007. One version that began circulating in 2010 included a photograph of two young children. Presumably, some foolish prankster has simply tacked on the photograph in a rather lame attempt to make the hoax seem a little more believable. Since the photograph of these children may have been used in this way without the permission or knowledge of their parents or guardians, I have not included it in the above example.

“Money for forwarding” claims are no more than a ruse to fool recipients into clicking the “Forward” button without due forethought. Coupled with a heart-wrenching tale of ill fortune, the ruse has proved itself to be a very effective way of keeping an email circulating. Some such messages have been passed from inbox to inbox continually for years on end.

In many instances, these messages are outright hoaxes that describe non-existent people and events that never took place. In a few cases, the message began life as a genuine plea for help, but was later defaced by a malicious prankster who tacked on a “money for forwarding” claim.

It is unclear into which of the above categories that this particular message fits. The email provides very little detail regarding where or when the described accident took place. The only information about “Nirosha Silva” that I have so far located comes from versions of the above email message that have been posted on forums and blogs. It seems quite possible that Nirosha’s sad story was simply made up, but even if it is true, one fact is certain. Forwarding this message will not provide one iota of help to anybody. Instead, it will do no more than needlessly clutter inboxes with even more junk email.

Last updated: 29th April 2010
First published: 12th September 2007
By Brett M. Christensen
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