A modern take on the old ‘chain letter', the purpose of these mails is to collect email addresses and the content will be designed to prompt a wide circulation. This can include:
- A ‘helpful' warning about a virus (fake) and quite often from someone ‘once removed' (e.g. ‘..this happened to a friend of mine and I was so concerned that I thought I should let you know....').
- Offering a free gift, voucher or cash for forwarding the email (these can also be pyramid schemes that promise unfeasibly huge amounts of money if the message is forwarded to enough people).
- An emergency request from a charity: these are more prominent after genuine disasters, so if you do want to make a donation, don't click on any of the links within the mail, go to the charity directly. Use Google or Yahoo to find the genuine website.
- An appeal on behalf of someone who is ill or in trouble (stranded far from home with lost documents and no cash).
- Straight-forward chain letters.
- Malicious emails that damage the reputation of an individual.
Take a look at our 'How to help youself' page to find out more.