A couple of friends sent me that weird email saying that, starting this
summer, if I don’t send that same email to at least 18 people in my contact
list, I will have to pay to use messenger and my Hotmail account.
Is that true?
It’s just another email hoax that’s making the rounds.
It’s wrong on so many levels. Let’s look at why, and what you can do to tell
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The first clue is “if I don’t send that same email to at least 18 people”.
That type of wording, or the more popular “send this to everyone you know” is
an almost sure sign of an email hoax or urban legend.
The second clue? “A couple of friends sent me…” – trust me, if Microsoft
were going to start charging for HotMail or Messenger, they wouldn’t get the
word out be asking friends to tell friends. You would have heard it directly
from HotMail. For something that would be this serious, you also would have
heard about it in the mainstream media.
Another clue is simply that there’s no way to reliably track email. There’s
no way that HotMail – or anyone for that matter – could tell if you forwarded
that mail to anyone, much less 18 of your friends. (Technically I suppose
HotMail, and only HotMail, could tell if you forwarded the message to 18 people
on HotMail, but only on HotMail. But they’re not. Honest.)
of the problem.”
One thing you should not do? Do not forward that
email. Delete it, ignore it, and get on with your life.
Forwarding hoaxes and urban legends just makes you part of the problem.
Don’t fall victim to the “it couldn’t hurt to forward” mentality. It can, and
does, by spreading lies and misinformation and puts garbage into the inboxes of
One thing you can do, is check it out on any of a number of urban
legend reference sites. My favorite is Snopes, and sure enough there’s an
article that clearly debunks
this particular hoax.
I’m torn about responding to the people that sent you this hoax. On one
hand, we’d like to educate them so that they stop forwarding this garbage, but
on the other hand, telling people that they just made a mistake or that they’re
wrong can often just make them angry.
You’ll have to judge for yourself.