How to stop getting spam email from family and friends.

You open your email and once again see a plea for help or dire warning from a friend or family member. This plea was sent to your friend by another friend who got it from their cousin who got it from a brother who got it from an aunt who knows the person in the email. They swear it is true, because of course the source is reputable.

Email hoaxes may be relatively new, but chain letters touting urban myths and legends have been around probably since the beginning of mail delivery. With the easy use of email, chain letters now take on a life of their own. A single email with a made up story can persist in the internet  world for years.

A good  hoax or scam will have a heart-wrenching story or play on people's fears. A great hoax or scam will have an official looking signature, although faked, at the end of the email. The name in the email may even be a real person, but that doesn’t mean that person has anything to do with the email. This causes people to want to act fast and they send the message to all on their email distribution list without questioning the legitimacy of the email. They may even send money to help the person in the email that they have never met. Have a few friends passing these emails on and your inbox quickly becomes full of spam sent by friends. You can put a stop to email hoaxes and scams, or at least keep them out of your inbox.

First Stop: Snopes

Search to determine the legitimacy of the story or claim made. Snopes is a reputable source for determining if most any story found online is true or false. Take a couple of key words from the message to use as a search. This will tell you if the story is true or an urban legend. You'll be surprised just how many years these stories have been ciruclating.

Hit the Reply to All Button

Report your findings if the information is a hoax to everyone that was sent the email hoax. Simply click "reply to all" to send an email to everyone that got the first email. In the reply state that according to (name your reputable source such as Snopes here), this is a hoax. Then add the link to the information you uncovered. Hopefully this will deter the sender from passing on future spam.

Stop the Spam

If after using step two does not stop the unwanted hoax emails then you will have to make a stand with the sender if you want the hoax emails to stop. Request that you no longer be included in the sender's email list for such chain emails. A simple, yet polite, "please remove me from your chain email list" should do the trick.

Whatever you do, don’t forward the message to yet another friend or family member without checking the validity of that email. Doing so makes you one of those emailers, a position that will not have others looking forward to more messages from you.


Tired of your friends constant posting that margerine is made to fatten turkeys and other fake stories? These steps work for Facebook just as easily. Look up the info on Snopes and post what you find in the comments. You don't need to say a word, just add the link.

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Learn more ways to stop most all unwanted messages to your in box.