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Thursday, January 22, 1998 If you get an e-mail message warning about an FCC plan to charge extra for the time you spend online and encouraging you to send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, you can safely ignore it. There is no such plan at this time, and the comment period for the issue ended last February, not this coming February.
As always, when you receive an e-mail encouraging you to take action by sending more e-mails (instead of, say, writing a letter, which recipients rightfully take more seriously), be suspicious; try to independently verify the claims made in the e-mail by checking with a reliable source (like, say, the FCC's own site in this case).
- 1998 Fact Sheet on The FCC, Internet Service Providers, and Access Charges [FCC]
- Old rumor, new furor [ZDNN]
If the message doesn't provide specifics or supporting information (like the name and e-mail address of the originator, or a URL you can go to for more information), be even MORE suspicious. If you're having trouble tracking down the truth, send a copy of the mail to your local sysadmin so he or she can figure it out and let you know if it's legit before you send it to everyone you know.
Very few calls to 'send lots of e-mail to email@example.com' or 'send a copy of this to everyone you know' are legitimate (in fact, almost none are).
These two sites are another place to look for verification; they list the most common messages you might receive that you can ignore:
Be careful lest you clog up the Internet unnecessarily.
- CIAC Internet Chain Letters page [Computer Incident Advisory Capability]
- CIAC Internet Hoaxes page [CIAC]
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