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Question: Why do people get so upset about email forwards?


I like to send out emails to some of my friends--jokes, inspirational stories, that sort of thing.

A few of my friends get upset and tell me not to, and say it has something to do with spam. Can you explain?


That's a good question. Your friends are right. There is a link between email forwards and spam. Or, at least, there can be a link.

Why? Take a look at the last email that you received and forwarded to someone else. Look at how many email addresses are in it. The last email forward I received had a grand total of fifty-three email addresses embedded in it.

Sooner or later, this message is going to end up in the hands of someone who "harvests" email addresses to sell them to spammers. In fact, some of these email harvesters actually subscribe to newslists of jokes and inspirational stories, in order to guarrantee that they'll get the email forwards.

In other words, every time you send out one of those forwards, you are putting all of your friends' email addresses (not to mention your own) into the hands of spammers. No wonder everyone is always perplexed at the amount of spam they get!

So what can you do to stop this? Well, there are a few things you can do. Either you should stop sending email forwards, or you should do the following:

  • Look at the text of the email message. Are there email addresses in it? DELETE THEM ALL before you forward the email

  • When you forward the email, you should not put any addresses in either the "To" field or the "Carbon Copy" (CC) field. Every email address must go in the "Blind Carbon Copy" (BCC) field. This is the only way to guarrantee that your friends' email addresses will be invisible to others.

Of course, that won't prevent your email address from ending up in the hands of spammers, but at least it protects your friends.

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