Do you really know how to forward e-mails?

*This was written by a System Administrator for a corporate system. It is an excellent message that ABSOLUTELY applies to ALL of us who send e-mails.

Do you really know how to forward e-mails? 50% of us do; 50% DO NOT! Do you wonder why you get viruses or excessive amounts of junk mail (Spam)? Do you hate it? Every time you forward an e-mail there is information left over from the people who received the message before you and sent it to you, namely their e-mail addresses and names. As the messages get forwarded along, the list of addresses builds, and builds, and builds. All it takes is for some poor sap to get a virus, and his or her computer can send that virus to every e-mail address that has come across their computer. Or, someone can take all of those addresses and send junk mail to them or sell the addresses to spammers in the hope that you will go to the site and they will make five cents for each hit that they sell. That's right, all of that inconvenience over a nickel and because someone included visible e-mail addresses in their Forwarded message!

How do you stop it? Well, there are two easy steps: 1) When you Forward an e-mail, DELETE all of the other addresses that appear in the body of the message (at the top). That's right, DELETE them. Highlight them and delete them or backspace them or cut them -- whatever it is that you know how to do. (If you don't know how to perform at least one of these simple operations.. LEARN!) It only takes a second. You MUST click the "Forward" button first though; then you will have full Editing capabilities for the body and headers of the message. If you don't click on "Forward" first, you won't be able to Edit the message at all.

(I find this a great time to correct spelling and remove, those pesky "send this to 10 friends and your wish will come true" false promises. And don't forget to delete all the virus checking messages and other junk that seems to attach to the bottom of most messages as well! If the message is very messy, drop it into Word or Word pad/Notepad or whatever word processor you use. Editing within a word processing program is much easier than performing editing operations within the body of an e-mail message.)

(2) Whenever you send an e-mail to more than one person, /_DO NOT _/use the To*/: /** **or* */Cc:/* options for adding e-mail addresses. Always use the */BCC:/* (Blind Carbon Copy) option for listing the e-mail addresses of the folks you want to send the message to. This way the people you send to only see their own e-mail address and no one else's. If you don't see your */BCC:/* option, click on where it says To: and your address list will appear. Highlight the address and choose */BCC:/* and that's it. It's that easy!!!

When you send to *BCC: *(and leave the *To:* line blank) your message will automatically say *"Undisclosed Recipients"* in the *"To:"* field of the people who receive it, providing extra security and privacy to all the people in your Address Book.

(3) Remove any "FW:" in the subject line. You can rename the subject if you wish or even correct spelling.

(4) ALWAYS hit your *Forward* button from the actual e-mail you are reading. Ever get those e-mails that you have to open 10 or 15 or 20 FW: pages to read the one page with the information on it? By *_Forwarding_* from the actual final page you wish someone to view, prevent their having to open multiple e-mails just to see what you sent. (Many people will not open all those E-Mails for fear of getting a virus; so your message may go unread.)

Have you ever received an email that is a petition? It states a position and asks you to add your name and address and to Forward it to a number of people or your entire Address Book. The email can be Forwarded on and on and can collect thousands of names and email addresses.

*FACT:* The completed petition is actually worth a couple of bucks to a professional spammer because of the wealth of valid names and email addresses contained therein. If you want to support the petition, send it as your own personal letter to the intended recipient(s). Your position may carry more weight as a personal letter than a laundry list of names and email address on a petition - and, again, you will protect the privacy of those in your Address Book and provide them additional security against viruses and spammers.

Regarding petitions: Be aware, that the government (federal, state, and local) and most legitimate organisations completely disregard email petitions. In order for a petition to have value and be acted upon, it is necessary to have LIVE, verifiable signatures, usually with the signers legitimate mailing address.

So please, in the future, let's stop the junk mail and the viruses by working together and respecting the privacy and security of one another.