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         Well, there's at least two of them going around the Net.
         And the Desk isn't even going to go into it. Below is part of the Postal Services take on it, and the link to the Inspector's page, and the text of a good bad example.
         The kicker is that the author of the letter knows darned good and well what they are doing is illegal, and they have included a dodge around the law. Doesn't matter, it's still a rip off.

         Oh, by the way. Where the letter talks about the FTC and how it approves of this kind of thing... guess again. According to the FTC web site, chain letters are one of it's 'dirty dozen' of email scams.

3. Chain letters
     You're asked to send a small amount of money ($5 to $20) to each of four or five names on a list, replace one of the names on the list with your own, and then forward the revised message via bulk email. The letter may claim that the scheme is legal, that it's been reviewed or approved by the government; or it may refer to sections of U.S. law that legitimize the scheme. Don't believe it.
     The scam: Chain letters-traditional or high-tech-are almost always illegal, and nearly all of the people who participate in them lose their money. The fact that a "product" such as a report on how to make money fast, a mailing list, or a recipe may be changing hands in the transaction does not change the legality of these schemes.


United States Postal Inspection Service

Chain Letters
     A chain letter is a "get rich quick" scheme that promises that your mail box will soon be stuffed full of cash if you decide to participate. You're told you can make thousands of dollars every month if you follow the detailed instructions in the letter.

     A typical chain letter includes names and addresses of several individuals whom you may or may not know. You are instructed to send a certain amount of money--usually $5--to the person at the top of the list, and then eliminate that name and add yours to the bottom. You are then instructed to mail copies of the letter to a few more individuals who will hopefully repeat the entire process. The letter promises that if they follow the same procedure, your name will gradually move to the top of the list and you'll receive money -- lots of it.

     There's at least one problem with chain letters. They're illegal if they request money or other items of value and promise a substantial return to the participants. Chain letters are a form of gambling, and sending them through the mail (or delivering them in person or by computer, but mailing money to participate) violates Title 18, United States Code, Section 1302, the Postal Lottery Statute. (Chain letters that ask for items of minor value, like picture postcards or recipes, may be mailed, since such items are not things of value within the meaning of the law.)

     Recently, high-tech chain letters have begun surfacing. They may be disseminated over the Internet, or may require the copying and mailing of computer disks rather than paper. Regardless of what technology is used to advance the scheme, if the mail is used at any step along the way, it is still illegal.

[see the rest of the article at:]

[TEXT OF CHAIN LETTER- has been edited due to length of letter]

******************DO NOT COPY ANYTHING ABOVE THIS*******************

If this kid can do it,
So can we!
I already have my first 2 $5 bills, and expect at least 20 more in the next 2 weeks. As long as we keep mailing, this program will keep working. Cheating is not possible, Figure it out.
Test it out by just ordering the first two reports at $5 each. Then when you have ten requests for Report #1, order the other three. You will have plenty of time for them to arrive before you will need them. You're spending a total of $25, but not until you have the money in hand. The first ten dollars is all you will risk!
AS SEEN ON NATIONAL TV: This is the one!
Parents of 15-year-old find $71,000 cash hidden in his closet.
His mother was cleaning and putting laundry away when she came across a large brown paper bag. Nothing could have prepared her for the shock she got when she opened the bag and found it was full of cash.Five-dollar bills, twenties, fifties and hundreds - all neatly rubber-banded in labeled piles.
"There was over $71,000 dollars in that bag.
As it turns out, the boy had been sending out, via E-mail, a type of "Report" to E-mail addresses that he obtained off the Internet. Everyday after school for the past 2 months, he had been doing this right on his computer in his bedroom.
The E-mail letter listed 5 addresses and contained instructions to send one $5 dollar bill to each person on the list, then delete the address at the top and move the others addresses Down, and finally to add your name to the top of the list.
"I get junk E-mail all the time, and really did not think it was going to work", the boy continues.
Within the first few days of sending out the E-mail, the Post Office Box that his parents had gotten him for his video-game magazine subscriptions began to fill up with not magazines, but envelopes containing $5 bills.
Over the next few weeks, the boy continued sending out the E-mail."The money just kept coming in and I just kept sorting it and stashing it in the closet, barely had time for my homework".
Surprisingly, the boy did not have any reason to be afraid. The reporting news team examined and investigated the so-called "chain-letter" the boy was sending out and found that it was not a chain-letter at all. In fact, it was completely legal according to US Postal and Lottery Laws, Title 18, Section 1302 and 1341, or Title 18, Section 3005 in the US code, also in the code of federal regulations, Volume 16, Sections 255 and 436, which state a product or service must be exchanged for money received.
Every five-dollar bill that he received contained a little note that read, "Please send me report number XYX".This simple note made the letter legal because he was exchanging a service (A Report on how-to) for a five-dollar fee.
Here is the letter: Dear Friends & Future Millionaires:
Making over half million dollars every 4 to 5 months from your home for an investment of only $25 U.S. Dollars expense one time THANKS TO THE COMPUTER AGE AND THE INTERNET !
Before you say ''Bull'', please read the following. This is the letter you have been hearing about on the news lately. Due to the popularity of this letter on the Internet, a national weekly news program recently devoted an entire show to the investigation of this program described below, to see if it really can make people money. The show also investigated whether or not the program was legal.
Their findings proved once and for all that there are ''absolutely NO Laws prohibiting the participation in the program and if people can follow the simple instructions, they are bound to make some mega bucks with only $25 out of pocket cost.
If you would like to make at least $500,000 every 4 to 5 months easily and comfortably, please read the following...THEN READ IT AGAIN and AGAIN!!! FOLLOW THE SIMPLE INSTRUCTION BELOW AND YOUR FINANCIAL DREAMS WILL COME TRUE, GUARANTEED! INSTRUCTIONS:
Order all 5 reports shown on the list below For each report, send $5 CASH, THE NAME & NUMBER OF THE REPORT YOU ARE ORDERING and YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS to the person whose name appears ON THAT LIST next to the report. Be sure to order all five reports before adding your own name.
When you place your order, make sure you order each of the 5 reports. You will need all 5 reports so that you can save them on your computer and resell them. YOUR TOTAL COST $5 X 5=$25.00. Within a few days you will receive, via e-mail, each of the 5 reports from these 5 different individuals. Save them on your computer so they will be accessible for you to send to the 1,000's of people who will order them from you. Also make a floppy of these reports and keep it on your desk in case something happen to your computer. IMPORTANT - DO NOT alter the names of the people who are listed next to each report, or their sequence on the list, in any way other than what is instructed below in step '' 1 through 6 '' or you will loose out on the majority of your profits. Once you understand the way this works, you will also see how it does not work if you change it. Remember, this method has been tested, and if you alter it, it will NOT work !!! People have tried to put their friends/relatives names on all five thinking they could get all the money.
But it does not work this way. Believe us, we all have tried to be greedy and then nothing happened. So Do Not try to change anything other than what is instructed. Because if you do, it will not work for you.
Remember, honesty reaps the reward!!!
1.... After you have ordered all 5 reports, take this advertisement and REMOVE the name & address of the person in REPORT # 5. This person has
Take this entire letter, with the modified list of names, and save it on your computer. DO NOT MAKE ANY OTHER CHANGES. Save this on a disk as well just in case you loose any data. To assist you with marketing your business on the internet, the 5 reports you purchase will provide you with invaluable marketing information which includes how to send bulk e-mails legally, where to find thousands of free classified ads and much more.
Get this venture going: BY SENDING BULK E-MAIL LEGALLY
Let's say that you decide to start small, just to see how it goes, and we will assume You and those involved send out only 5,000 e-mails each. Let's also assume that the mailing receive only a 0.2% response. (the response could be much better but lets just say it is only 0.2%. Also many people will send out hundreds of thousands e-mails instead of only 5,000 each).
Continuing with this example, you send out only 5,000 e-mails. With a 0.2% response, that is only 10 orders for report # 1. Those 10 people responded by sending out 5,000 e-mail each for a total of 50,000. Out of those 50,000 e-mails only 0.2% responded
For every $5 you receive, all you must do is e-mail them the Report they ordered. Always provide same day service!
This will guarantee that the e-mail they send out, with your name and address on it, will be prompt because they can not advertise until they receive the report.
ORDER EACH REPORT BY ITS NUMBER & NAME ONLY. Notes: Always send $5 cash (U.S. CURRENCY) for each Report. Checks NOT accepted. Make sure the cash is concealed by wrapping
Report # 1: 'The Insider's Guide to Advertising for Free on the Net
Order Report #1 from: A L [DELETED] Tx. [DELETED]
REPORT #5: How to send out 0ne Million emails for free
Order Report # 5 From: Jackie [DELETED] Sedgley [DELETED] [DELETED] United Kingdom
Please remember that your $5 bills are going all around the world and delivery of report could take up to 2-4wks.
Follow these guidelines to guarantee your success: If you do not receive at least 10 orders for Report #1 within 2 weeks, continue sending e-mails until you do. After you have received 10 orders, 2 to 3 weeks after that you should receive 100 orders or more for REPORT # 2. If you did not,continue advertising or sending e-mails until you do. Once you have received 100 or more orders for Report #2, YOU CAN RELAX, because the system is already working for you, and the cash will continue to roll in!
Every time your name is moved down on the list, you are placed in front of a Different report. You can KEEP TRACK of your PROGRESS by watching which report people are ordering from you. IF YOU WANT TO GENERATE MORE INCOME SEND ANOTHER BATCH OF E-MAILS AND START THE WHOLE PROCESS AGAIN.
There is NO LIMIT to the income you can generate from this business !!!
You have just received information that can give you financial freedom for the rest of your life, with NO RISK and JUST A LITTLE BIT OF EFFORT. You can make more money in the next few weeks and months than you have ever imagined.
So my friend, I have given you the idea, information, materials and opportunity to become financially independent. IT IS UP TO YOU NOW !
If you have any questions of the legality of this program, contact the Office of Associate Director for Marketing Practices, Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Washington, D.C.
This e-mail is sent in compliance with our strict anti-abuse regulations. You are receiving this message for one of the following reasons: 1) we are on the same optin list; 2) you posted to one of my FFA pages; 3) you have responded to one of my ads; or 4) you have sent an e-mail to one of our addresses. By doing so, you have agreed to receive this message. Under Bill s. 1618 TITLE III passed by the 105th US Congress this letter Cannot be considered Spam as long as the sender includes contact information & a method of "removal." To be removed from future mailings just reply with REMOVE in the subject line. Thank you for your kind consideration.
******************DO NOT COPY ANYTHING BELOW THIS*********************

This is another one that is making the rounds (Winter 01).

[TEXT OF CHAIN LETTER- has been edited due to length of letter]

Thank you for your time reading this message.

I didn't become a millionaire, but this opportunity to invest $25 was the best ever happened to me. Finaly we don't have to worry about our mortgage, car, insurance and other payments. We have more time to be together and money to make our dreams come true.

If you want to be financially independent and you don't mind sending e-mail, DO NOT DELETE this message. Ideally you can earn $40,000 or more in the next 3-4 months by persistently sending e-mail. Seems impossible? Read the following letter. I don't know who wrote it, but you'll see how tempting this program is. Most people can't resist not participating. Even me. Its very simple, I was shocked when I saw this method I spent a lot of time searching for a money making idea just like you out there I know how hard it can be and when you think you found something interesting itís hard to understand and you need a lot of time and effort, I didnít believe that it will be so easy, and that's the whole point of it. More and more people will become part of it. Don't forget that currently more than 175,000,000 people are online worldwide!

NO BULLS--T 100% proven money making method!!!

Daniel Saunders
Concord, Canada

Due to the popularity of this letter on the internet, a major nightly news program devoted an entire show to the investigation of the program described below, to see if it really can make people money.

THIS IS A LEGITIMATE, LEGAL, MONEY MAKING OPPORTUNITY. It does not require you to come into contact with people, do any hard work, and best of all, you never have to leave the house except to get the mail.

The Multi-Level Marketing is a Multi-Billion Dollar industry and of the 3,500,000 millionaires in the WORLD, 20\% ( 700,000) made their fortune in the last several years in MLM. Moreover, statistics show that over 100 people become millionaires everyday through Multi-Level Marketing.

But like I was saying, in December of 1999 I received this program. I didn't send for it, or ask for it, they just got my name off a mailing list. THANK GOODNESS FOR THAT!!! After reading it several times, to make sure I was reading it correctly, I couldn't believe my eyes. Here was a MONEY MAKING PHENOMENON. I could invest as much as I wanted to start, without putting me further into debt. After I got a pencil and paper and figured it out, I would at least get my money back. But like most of you I was still a little skeptical and a little worried about the legal aspects of it all. So I checked it out with the U.S.and canadian Post Office (1-800-725-2161 24-hrs) and they confirmed that it is indeed legal! After determining the program was LEGAL and NOT A CHAIN LETTER, I decided "WHY NOT."

[Much More]

NOTE: Needless to say, BOTH are chain letters and ARE illegal in Both the US and CANADA.

DO NOT send them any money, DO NOT forward it.

They Are Scam SPAM! Back to the Desk's Urban Legend Page