Though Bill Gates’ net worth may be closely approaching $58 billion, students have found by now that he has no intentions of giving over $10,000 to every Briton willing to forward his AOL message.
“I knew it was a chain letter when I first received it because of the long subject line,” said Kristen Kelly, Commerce junior. “I think other students probably forwarded it because of the (amount) of money involved , and the fact that there isn’t really a penalty for forwarding it in the first place.”
According to Scott Steven, associate vice president for information services, the “Money from Microsoft Giveaway Hoax,” as it is commonly known, is a message that has been circulating through Albion e-mail addresses for over 10 years. It has however, been almost four years since the last time he has seen the message.
Details of the message state that for every person the message is sent to, the sender will receive $245, then $243 for every second hand recipient and $241 for every third party recipient. Though it may be an obvious fraud, Steven said that he blames the simplicity behind sending a forwarded message in the scandal’ continued circulation.
“(Students) don’t think far enough ahead to realize that it’s a hoax,” Steven said. “There’s nothing malicious attached to the e-mail, so it’s not even a thorough process to select all of the text and forward it to every person in your address book.”
Steven states that the messages he first received of this hoax were sent as a mass e-mail from the student phonebook starting somewhere in the L’s alphabetically. As it started to be forwarded several times over, more names were added to the list of recipients and it soon grew to encompass almost the whole student body.
“I received the message at least eight times, and after the first learned to just delete it in my inbox,” said Sara Papple, Holly junior.
Students on campus have received two different messages with this claim on them, one stating that the message was in the Tuesday edition of USA Today and another that states that the message was certified on Good Morning America. Neither media outlet has actually endorsed the scam.
Information technology has never had to sanction anyone in the past, according to Steven, but if taken to extreme action, forwarding mass e-mails can result in a hearing through the judicial process on campus. If prosecuted, the penalty would be a suspension of said student’s e-mail account for an extended period of time.