But guess what: Penny Brown and Evan Trembley are not missing. There is no Teddy Bear virus. Microsoft is not paying people to test email. Joseph A. Adisa did not get your email address from the Nigerian Export Promotions Council.
You got the message because someone fell for this hoax. Don't be a sucker, be smart and just delete the notice. Also let the person who sent it to you know that they fell for a hoax, and point them to information about how to identify such hoaxes.
General Rules of Thumb For Spotting Hoaxes (compliments of Hoaxbusters)
- The Hook First, there is a hook, to catch your interest and get you to read the rest of the letter. Hooks used to be "Make Money Fast" or "Get Rich" or similar statements related to making money for little or no work. Electronic chain letters also use the "free money" type of hooks, but have added hooks like "Danger!" and "Virus Alert" or "A Little Girl Is Dying". These tie into our fear for the survival of our computers or into our sympathy for some poor unfortunate person.
- The Threat When you are hooked, you read on to the threat. Most threats used to warn you about the terrible things that will happen if you do not maintain the chain. However, others play on greed or sympathy to get you to pass the letter on. The threat often contains official or technical sounding language to get you to believe it is real.
- The Request Finally, the request. Some older chain letters ask you to mail a dollar to the top ten names on the letter and then pass it on. The electronic ones simply admonish you to "Distribute this letter to as many people as possible." They never mention clogging the Internet or the fact that the message is a fake, they only want you to pass it on to others.
Don't be gullible. Just delete it!