The safe and sane of forwarding e-mails

Do you receive and/or send e-mails that are forwarded with a dozen or more e-mail addresses in the heading?

These addresses, which are being forwarded around the globe, make us all vulnerable to viruses, excessive junk mail and spammers. Every time an e-mail is forwarded, there are e-mail addresses and names left over from the people who received the message before you and forwarded it without removing any of the names and/or addresses of prior recipients.

So, as these messages get forwarded along, the list of addresses builds and builds. If some recipient along the way gets a virus on his computer, this virus can send itself to every e-mail address on that computer, not just those in his Address Book. Or, some enterprising individual can take all those addresses and send them junk mail or even sell the addresses to spammers. It may be a little inconvenient, but, we should all take a minute or two to make sure we forward e-mails correctly.

To "clean up" an e-mail:

1.) Click the Forward button in order to have editing capabilities (you can't edit an original e-mail).

2.) Delete all addresses in the header by selecting them (click and drag the cursor over the addresses to highlight), then press the Delete key on your keyboard, or with the cursor on the highlighted part, right-click and then click Cut, or just use the Backspace key to wipe them out, whatever works for you.

3.) Whenever you send an e-mail to more than one person, always place their addresses in the "Bcc" (Blind Carbon Copy) box. If the Bcc option does not show on your screen, click on the View menu at the top of the screen and select All Headers (you must be in a New, Reply, or Forward message for this to display).

4.) Click in the Subject box and delete any "FW/FWDs." You can even type in a new subject if you wish.

5.) While you are in the process of editing the e-mail, it is a good time to remove any of those "Send this to 10 friends" messages.

For the "To" box, type in your own e-mail address or create an "Undisclosed Recipients" address in your Address Book and use that. To do that, click on the Tools menu at the top of the screen, click on Address Book. Click on the New button and select New Contact. Type "Undisclosed" in the First: field. Type "Recipients" in the Last: field. Type your own e-mail address under E-Mail Addresses. Click Add, and then click OK.

Have you received e-mail attachments that you have to open a number of pages to get to the page with the attached file on it? Please use this final page if you intend to Forward it to others. Forwarding from the final page will prevent the recipient(s) from having to open multiple pages just to see what you sent.

(Many people will not open all those pages for fear of getting a virus; so your message may go unread.) If you are not sure of forwarding the e-mail just yet, at least Forward this one to yourself so you will have a "clean" one page copy that your recipient(s) will not have to open a dozen times.

Do you ever receive petitions via e-mail? They state a position and ask you to add your name and address and then Forward it to everyone in your Address Book. This e-mail forwarded on and on can collect thousands of names and e-mail addresses.

This completed petition is worth money to a professional spammer because of the many valid names and e-mail addresses. If you want to support the petition, copy it and send it as your own personal letter to the intended recipient. It will carry more weight and you will be respecting the privacy of your e-mail contacts.

Disclaimer: Click With Vera shall not be held liable for use of these data. No warranty, expressed or implied, is given as to the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of these data.

Send questions to: clickwithvera@hotmail.com. You can also view previous columns at: www.clickwithvera.com.

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