These messages are all hoaxes. Unfortuntely they are passed on in vast quantities by people who do not realise they are hoaxes.
As a rule of thumb, any message that requests you to pass it on to lots of other people is a hoax. If it claims to be backed by evidence from IBM or any major computer company, then the odds of it being a hoax are doubled. Hoaxers just *love* adding spurious authority.
If you really really think a message is genuine, check it out on the web first. There are sites that list known e-mail hoaxes. Don't you owe it to your frineds to check before forwarding?
As a general rule, never forward anything which says "send this to all your friends, it's not a hoax" - they always are a hoax.
If everyone forwards it, it clogs up the mail systems, takes up disk space, wastes people's time etc. etc. etc.
*No-one* could write software that does what they say the 'email tracking' software does. The internet just doesn't work that way - if you send an email the only people that will know about it are you and the person you send it to. The only way this could be done is to have software installed on your machine, which couldn't happen without you knowing about it.
For more information on this and other email hoax messages, see:
CIAC, the Computer Incident Advisory Center, a division of a US government department. They track and advise on solutions to security bugs and viruses, and have now taken up hoax email messages - it's that much of a problem.
Also of interest A general page, with more general information on chain letters and hoax messages.
Thanks to : Peter Borg.
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Last updated on 28th of March 1999.