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(Wired)   Bill Gates isn't tracking your e-mail, but Wired tracks down this e-mail hoax's origins   ( divider line
    More: Interesting  
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21816 clicks; posted to Main » on 29 Jun 2004 at 1:13 PM (18 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook

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2004-06-29 9:54:54 AM  
A few months ago, we had some idjut forward one of these to the entire company, which meant his payout should have been around $172,000. He later claimed that he meant to hit the delete button, but accidentally hit the forward button (and, apparently, somehow accidentally copied the entire list of e-mail addresses into the To: box, but we won't go into that).
2004-06-29 11:10:31 AM  
Bill Gates sucks prison ass.
2004-06-29 11:13:16 AM  
cool story. however, nowhere does it say "people who believe and forward such things are mental midgets." it should, right in the first paragraph.
2004-06-29 1:04:43 PM  
I finally showed my family/friends how to type the first line of a suspicious Email into Google with "quotes". This usually results in some sort of hoax page. In other words, quit sending me this shiat.
2004-06-29 1:17:46 PM is good site to check out these hoaxes.
2004-06-29 1:18:14 PM  
I thought Bill read everybody's email.
2004-06-29 1:19:30 PM  
As a Macintosh user, I was ineligible for this windfall.

Even scammers don't care about Mac users. Sigh.
2004-06-29 1:20:07 PM  
I got my money. Plus a personal letter and autographed picture of Bill. Don't know what this guy's problem is.
2004-06-29 1:20:59 PM  
But..but...It's real, right? I mean, it's not really a hoax....

Ah crap.
2004-06-29 1:21:53 PM  
Is there some type of etiquette to tell someone *nicely* to stop forwarding their ridiculous emails?
2004-06-29 1:22:00 PM  
we had some woman forward one of these to the whole 35,000 userlist where I used to work as well... the resulting replies shut down the entire email system for a day.

people are idiots.
2004-06-29 1:23:03 PM  
I felt kind of inferior because I didn't get the Nigerian hoax email until spring of this year.
2004-06-29 1:23:27 PM  

I was forwarded one of these just two weeks ago from someone I thought was intelligent. I also hate the Penny Brown/my kid was kidnapped crap that keeps coming around. I love to send back links to snopes, or debunking the emails.

/Nothing can be fool-proof, the fools are too inventive.
/Never argue with a fool, he will bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.
2004-06-29 1:24:53 PM  
The submitter spelled "e-mail" right... why can't Wired?

*weeps for the English language*

Also... isn't it about time that we start tracking down the originators of this crap and hanging them by their testicles? Seriously, how much of your e-mail is legitimate?
2004-06-29 1:25:02 PM  
Everyone has at least one friend/ relative/ colleague who is naive enough to keep sending you this kind of spam, no matter how often you patiently explain the 'offers' are electronic mush.

/considers breaking out a half-brick & a sock to re-enforce the message.
2004-06-29 1:25:36 PM  
This is probably the first hoax I can recall.
Back when people knew absolutley nothing of how or why the "Internet" was started.
One cool this that was similar, however was a company that paid you for surfing the web.
I think it was called Anyone recall?
You installed a bit of software that we all know today to be "Spyware" and it tracked your internet usage. It actually paid you a dime or so for every hour that you spent online (all the while pumping ads at you). It also paid you a few more cents an hour for the time spent by those you refer.
Nobody know for sure if it was legit until I got a check in the mail for $32. And I had VERY few referals.
Damn I wish somebody would start something like that again.
The Farkers would own the world.
2004-06-29 1:27:42 PM  
I always reply with the page to make the forwarder feel like a real ass. It's fun.
2004-06-29 1:29:51 PM  
Bottom line: some people are too stupid to live.

I think we all knew that already, didn't we?
2004-06-29 1:30:02 PM  
I notice that, whenever I send my cousin the Snopes page refuting the e-mail she just sent to me (and her entire address book), she never immediately forwards the Snopes page around...
2004-06-29 1:32:22 PM  

Is there some type of etiquette to tell someone *nicely* to stop forwarding their ridiculous emails?

Yes, yes there is. What I usually do is reply and include the following:

Quit forwarding this shiat to me, asshole. Just because you're a moron doesn't mean the rest of us are.

It seems to work.
2004-06-29 1:33:09 PM  

Usually after I send back a link exposing they hoax, I don't get any more crap emails from that person. However, my mother and sister can't stop sending "Jebus found in the clouds" or "here's the magical rose of love and friendship. If you don't forward it to everyone in the farking planet in 3 seconds, your pecker will fall off and you'll get diarrhea for ten days straight" I feel like crap asking them to stop showing me their friendship and love, so I just delete all their emails after glancing through them for important familial content.

/Ignorance is bliss if it means ignoring the quirks of the ones you love (unless the quirk is spousal abuse)
2004-06-29 1:35:11 PM  
My favorite hoax of all time: The Bonsai Kitten. This sparked hundreds of chain letters protesting such barbarous practice, and I think they all got to me eventually.
2004-06-29 1:36:38 PM  
I like the one that tells you to search your files for some obscure file with an strange icon and tells you it's a virus and to delete it. Of course you don't realize you're SUPPOSED to have that old DOS-icon file and it has minor importance.

I thought it was brilliant.

It's like convincing someone to punch themselves in the nose.
2004-06-29 1:36:42 PM  
I've seen one of these damn things go to every faculty/staff person at a college because some gullible person goes, "Wow, I can make some money". Morons.

I want to ask them if they know that gullible isn't in the dictionary. I'm sure they'd fall for that one, too.
2004-06-29 1:40:11 PM  
SkidPalace ya I remember Everybody in my residence had it on their computers. At the time though they had updated the software to make sure that your computer wasn't just sitting idle racking up money. Then of course some person came up with a simple program that just moved your mouse pointer every couple of minutes to fool the "protection". Yes that was some very sweet drinking money. I think I cleared over $100 US in first year on it.
2004-06-29 1:41:09 PM  
All jokes about my popularity aside, I really don't have any friends dumb enough to pass this crap along. Plenty of IT people, sure, but plenty of technophobes, even female technophobes, in college no less, don't pass this crap onto me.

I'm proud of my friends.

And now, everyone's favorite, the Burlap Sack boy. First few times I read this I laughed so hard I cried. Very on topic. Unedited, due to it's literary qualities:

I am a very sick boy little boy. My mother is typing this for me, because I can't. She is crying. (Don't cry, Mommy!) Mommy is always sad, but she says it's not my fault. I asked her if it was God's fault, but she didn't answer, and only started crying harder, so I don't ask her that anymore.

The reason she is so sad is that I'm so sick. I was born without a body. It doesn't hurt, except when I go to sleep. The doctors gave me an artificial body. My body is a burlap bag filled with leaves. The doctors said that was the best they could do on account of us havin' no money or insurance. I would like to have a body transplant, but we need more money.

Mommy doesn't work because she said employers don't hire crying people. I said, "Don't cry, Mommy," and she hugged my burlap body. Mommy always gives me hugs, even though she's allergic to burlap, and it chafes her real bad. I hope you will help me.

You can help me if you forward this e-mail. Dr. Van Nostrem from the clinic said if you foward this e-mail then Bill Gates will team up with AOL and do a survey with NASA. Then the astronauts will collect prayers from school children all over America and take them up to space so that the angels can hear them better. Then they will go to the Pope, and he will take up a collection in church and send the money to the doctors. The doctors could help me get better then. Maybe one day I will be able to play baseball. Or maybe just use my lungs and heart, when the doctors make them. The doctors said that every time you forward this letter, the astronauts can take another prayer to the angels.

Please help me. Mommy is so sad, and I want a body. I don't want my leaves to rot before I turn 10. If you don't forward this e-mail, that's OK. Mommy says you're a mean heartless shiathead who doesn't care about a poor little boy with only a head. She says that, if you don't stew in the raw pit of your own guilt-ridden stomach, she hopes you die a long slow horrible death so you can burn forever in the tar pits of hell. What kind of goddamned person are you that you can't take five farking minutes to forward this to all your friends so that they can feel guilt and shame for the rest of their day, and then maybe help a poor, bodiless nine-year-old boy?

Please help me. This really sucks. I try to be happy but it's hard. I wish I had a puppy. I wish I could hold a puppy. One time I had a puppy but he ate my leaves.

Thank You.

The boy with just a head. And a burlap sack for a body.
2004-06-29 1:41:19 PM  
Alexis, both email and e-mail are considered acceptable by most style guides, but e-mail is falling out of use. Lots of words lose their hyphens after becoming commonplace.
2004-06-29 1:41:24 PM  
Remember the Neiman-Marcus Cookie Hoax?

I'll admit it, I made the cookies... damn fine cookie I might add.
2004-06-29 1:42:37 PM  
I'd like to see a hoax combining the "police phone call to the fast food joint ordering strip search of an employee" and e-mail.

Maybe something like " check underneath your stove lid, if you see a small blue flame(s), you're house is about to explode ! Take off all your clothes and run outside, NOW!"

..or something like that.

I'm all in favor of hoaxes. The more, the better. Our society needs to be embarassed into being more cynical and better educated.
2004-06-29 1:46:30 PM  
You mean I'm not getting $300 and a free trip to disney?
That's just weak, man, weak.
2004-06-29 1:47:05 PM  
yeah, the only people who send me forwarded chain letters anymore are my grandparents. they sent out a big one just last year telling everyone to boycott the film "Cold Mountain", because the stars in it were anti-Bush. "let's show hollywood that we wont put up with anti-christian messages anymore!!" was about how it went.

/(dont tell them this, but I automatically delete whatever they send me now!)
2004-06-29 1:49:52 PM  

That story is so sad. :( I copied it and sent it out to all my contacts so that more prayers can get to heaven.

Whatever happened to good old prank calls?

Caller: "Is your refridgerator running?"
Callee: "Why, Yes it is."
Caller: "Then you better go catch it!"
Callee: "Wha . . . You kids are going to farking hell, when I find out who your mother--" click.
2004-06-29 1:52:12 PM  
I like the one that tells you to search your files for some obscure file with an strange icon and tells you it's a virus and to delete it. Of course you don't realize you're SUPPOSED to have that old DOS-icon file and it has minor importance.

That was the java debugger executable with the teddy bear icon.

A funny story about that..

As soon as I heard about it I sent an email to a girl I know who has a horrible tendancy to believe these things explaining that it was a hoax. The following conversation ensued.

First, the important back end to the punchline: Her comptuer at the time was an old Compaq Presario, 200mhz, 32 megs of RAM, and Windows95
Her: I deleted that file
Me: I told you it was a hoax
Her: Yeah but I had the file on my computer!
(I decide to take this and run with it)
Me: I told you it was a hoax for a reason, now if you shut your computer down you aren't going to be able to start it back up again.
(she signs off and isn't seen online again for about a week)
Her: Colin am I ever going to be able to turn off my computer?

She BELIEVED me and actually left her dinosaur Win95 box running for a week straight. I was surprised after running that long she was able to get on to AOL 6.0 and IM me without the system falling to its knees in a spectacular stream of 30 BSODs.

Stupid is as stupid does I guess
2004-06-29 1:52:17 PM  
Oh, yeah. I always love the don't buy gas on xx day from xx company.

To quote Cosby quoting Noah, "Riiiiiight!
2004-06-29 1:54:09 PM  
I am proud that I have never actually forwarded this type of e-mail, and I did receive it five or six times. Am I smarter than the average bear?
2004-06-29 1:54:10 PM  
Is it just me or did this sentence on the last page of the article seem completely out of place:

"He occasionally played phone pranks on friends' parents, posing as a manager from Goody Tree Service, saying they'd ordered a spruce."

And how is that funny?

My guess is that the writer had a bet he could slip it into his story.
2004-06-29 1:55:31 PM  
So now we know who to blame. Bryan Mack. Well, will someone start manufacturing 150 pound, life size Bryan Mack dolls that I can use as weapons against the people who forward this shiat to me?



...a price under $25 US would also be appreciated
2004-06-29 1:56:05 PM  
Speaking of Wired, if anyone here wants a free subscription go here:
2004-06-29 1:57:01 PM  

"He occasionally played phone pranks on friends' parents, posing as a manager from Goody Tree Service, saying they'd ordered a spruce."

And how is that funny?

me and my friends, as kids, did a much better "tree" prank call

we called up a landscaping company and asked them to remove a tree from this guy's property.

hilarity flowed forth
2004-06-29 1:57:02 PM  
When is fark going to have a [DUH!] tag?
2004-06-29 1:57:13 PM  
That article was hooky.
2004-06-29 1:59:27 PM  
I suspect the article is a hoax
2004-06-29 2:00:34 PM  
This was probably the most BORING article on Fark, EVER.

On a related note: you know those pyramid schemes where you recruit 2 people, and they each recruit 2 people and so on... unless I'm an idiot, by the 33rd step, 8.6 billion people would be recruited.

(2 to the power of 33 = 8 589 934 592)
2004-06-29 2:02:11 PM  
So, if this crap is still active on the net, and responsible for even 10% of the spam traffic, this guy "mack" should be liable.

/He flicked a lit butt into the forest, and its been burning, out of control, ever since. Should be noted JACKASS and not Interesting.
2004-06-29 2:03:02 PM  
I work in a college mailroom. One day, the head of the security department calls us up and tells us that that the head of business affairs has just gotten a vitally important email, and that they're sending a guard to deliver it straight away. Thirty seconds after the VP who's in charge of both Security and us calls, relays the same message.
The guard comes speeding over, runs in, and hands us the email. The representative we deal with for our cell phones had forwarded an email warning that someone had been buying up UPS uniforms, and terrorists were going to use them to deliver bombs.
This sounds familiar, so I look it up on, and realize that word for word, this email has been circulating for two years. I point this out to the VP, and he gets this confused look on his face and tells me to post it anyways.
Stupid email hoaxes.
/gave me a good idea for how to use UPS to rid me of my enemies, though
2004-06-29 2:03:21 PM  
You owe me a new keyboard. ROTFLMAO!
2004-06-29 2:04:52 PM  
What's the whole point of sending something like that anyway?

Did not RTFA.

2004-06-29 2:05:19 PM  
I sent a condom to George Bush because I was directed to do so pursuant to an e-mail. So now, everyone has birth control and AIDS has been conquered! It was my condom that did it, I just know it, and it had a lot to do with the french tickler. And I don't mean maybe, baby, whoa! I knew a horny old man who used to say that, but I digress.
2004-06-29 2:09:42 PM  
I work in an IT department and one of our employees forwarded this message to me a couple of years ago. When I explained to her that it was a hoax, she got very angry and thought I was calling her sister a liar because her sister said that she had received some money in connection with this "offer". Of course, she never brought it up again (or forwarded me any more of this stupid crap).

I think I have received more fake virus warnings than chain emails though.
2004-06-29 2:12:42 PM  
One of my favorites in the RGVAC newsgroup.


Now that was a classic..
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