I am not a huge fan of chain letter emails. These usually require you to forward the email or snail mail letter to 5-10 of your friends. Doing so supposedly ensures you will receive some type of extra karma points or other reward for your valiant effort. For quite some time, people were sending around an email with the subject “Bill Gates is Giving Away Free Money!” and it read something like:
Microsoft has introduced a new email tracking system in an effort to ensure Internet Explorer remains the most popular browser on the market. This email is a beta test of the new software and Microsoft has generously offered to compensate those who participate in the testing process.
For each person you send this email to, you will be given $5. For every person they give it to, you will be given an additional $3. For every person they send it to you will receive $1. Microsoft will tally all the emails produced under your name over a two-week period and then email you with more instructions.
I know how you hate forwarded emails, and I was skeptical myself until last week when I got a real check in the mail for $800. Seriously, it really works. I wanted you to get a piece of the action. You won’t regret it.
I must have received this email at least 10 times over a month period and could not believe some of my friends thought it might be real. I decided to teach these dumb bastards a lesson and mailed out a couple of letters and fake checks to those who had recently forwarded the email. I printed Microsoft insignias on the envelope, used a fancy watermark for the letter making it look as official as possible, and printed the check using colored ink and specially weighted paper. The letter and fake check follow:
Microsoft® Research Division
5324 Illinois Road
Wilmington, DE 19850
|June 18, 2001
440 E. Hydale St. Ste.3904
Chicago, IL 60605
Dear Mr. Chalkan:
On behalf of the Microsoft Research Division, we would like to thank you for helping us in our continued quest to be the leader in Internet technologies.
We are currently conducting research to better understand the paths that Internet electronic mail (e-mail) takes in the course of its life. In order to ensure that our research e-mails are always forwarded to more and more recipients, we choose to reward selected messages. By rewarding randomly forwarded messages, we are better able to receive consistent results. You are receiving the enclosed check because you have forwarded one of the selected messages to your friends and family.
We have obtained your work address through your forwarded e-mail. Again, thank you for your participation in our on-going research. Please tell your friends and family members that you have been rewarded and that indeed, it does pay to forward our e-mails on to new recipients.
Microsoft Research Division, Executive Director
Microsoft, bringing the virtual world together.
The front of the Check:
The back of check:
Back says: (Please Endorse Only In Your Dreams)
I sent one copy of the letter and check to a good friend at work. After opening the letter and seeing the check he jumped up and down shouting at his coworkers, “see I told you it was for real!” He continued his celebration until one of them turned the check over and roared with laughter as he read aloud, “endorse only in your dreams, Dumbass!” Another friend opened the letter and check in front of his father. His dad, even after being told it might be a fake but before turning it over to read the back, didn’t see why there was any reason he shouldn’t try cashing it. He reasoned, “its got numbers on it!”