It's Real Money - forwarded email

Vast numbers of networks have been shut down due to the forwarding hoax emails causing traffic to block up. No offense intended - it's in our nature to be optimistic, and wanting to believe what people say comes with that. Falling for 'pranks', 'hoaxes', etc. happens to the best of us.

But there is no way this is going to happen. Neither Microsoft nor AOL (or joint efforts) can track every email on the Internet. Whilst in theory, AOL would be able to track emails sent through their servers (and knowing their privacy practices - or rather, the lack there of - they may well), it is not possible for anyone one company to track every email floating around the Internet. If - and only if - one single body had an undisputed monopoly on mail servers with literally no other competition, then it might be possible. But as email passes through any given number of servers to reach its destination, it's impossible to track it unless it passes through a server operated by the tracker.

I would advise that you simply delete any emails that urge you to forward them on to others. If they are genuine, then they don't need to try and convince you to send them to other people. There are millions of 'chain' letters floating around - both in electronic and physical form - and they are usually started by someone who has little else to do and would like to see how far their hoax can spread. Any message following the line of 'Forward this to all your friends / x amount of people / everyone and something good will happen to you' are almost definately rubbish, and should be ignored. Helping them propagate is just helping the idiot who started it.

And now, onto the logic. Just pretend that part of the email was true, and Microsoft and AOL had teamed up to pay you money just because they have it (and, let's face it, they are known for their generosity and tendancies to throw all their money at people). Microsoft is obviously nothing short of an empire, and the Time/Warner/AOL group follows pretty closely. Being such enourmous and wealthy corporations, don't you think they would have ways of publicizing their events other than sending unsolicited email to random people, promising them that riches will follow if they help 'spread the word'?

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