Chain of fools

There’s an old saying along the lines of “sticks and stones may break my bones, but whips and chains excite me.” Perhaps it’s time to point out that doesn’t include chain letters.

I’ve grown accustomed to e-mails from strangers who want to help me boost the size of my “package” (why does my husband suddenly look so worried?) and _ once suitably boosted _ get it perked up and ready to go with the help of herbal viagra.

However, lately I’ve been bombarded with a range of chain letters promising me a fate worse than, um, something really bad, if I fail to send on the item in question to 367 of my closest friends.

These things were bad enough back in the days when people diligently put them in an envelope and went to the trouble of either posting or delivering them personally to your letterbox. Now, it’s too easy for serial chain letter-ites to simply select a bunch of names from their address book and send it on to new victims.

This week alone I’ve received five, ranging from the old creepy-looking-ghost-in-photo-will-get-you story to yet another fake warning about a non-existent virus that seems to have the ability to do more nasty stuff to your computer than you can shake a Taser at.

If you happen to find one in your inbox, do me a favour and check it out before you pass it on. There are plenty of sites out there that specialise in listing urban legends, chain letters and all the other weird and wonderful stuff that clutters up cyberspace (try Snopes, Break the Chain or Hoax Slayer).


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