To Forward or Not to Forward

That is the question. In fact, it’s one of the most common questions we hear from OnGuardOnline.gov visitors.

Email etiquette is important — not only for the sake of your personal and professional relationships, but for your computer’s security, too. Here are a few tips to help:

Don't forward emails that say to do so — no matter how noble the cause. Many of these emails contain misinformation. In fact, there are entire websites devoted to sorting out fact and fiction in popular emails. 

More importantly, some mass emails contain viruses and other malware, which can cause serious harm to your computer and expose your personal information to crooks. Malicious code can be hidden in graphics or links within the email so you don’t know it’s there. Forwarding these emails to others can put them at risk, too.

So, what should you do if you get an email you feel is worth passing on? Consider alternatives, like typing your own personal message in a new email. That way, you don’t unknowingly send something harmful.

If you decide to forward an email, resist the impulse to send it to everyone in your address book. It’s unlikely that they would all welcome the same message. Include a personal comment so the recipient knows the email really is from you. It’s a good idea to delete the forwarding information, including other email addresses, headers, and previous commentary.

If you plan to forward a message to more than one person and don’t want to send separate emails, use the BCC field so you don’t share your friends’ email addresses with people they don’t know.

Finally, if your contacts ask you not to forward mass emails to them, honor their request. They have good reason to be concerned about mass emails.

Tagged with: email, friend, malware, relative, virus

Comments

I found this very helpful and will be a good reason to ask friends not to forward round robins however humerous or emotionally appealing.

I agree with your advice. I, too, will ask my family and friends not to forward and, instead, to write a new message from me if I believe it has merit.

Thanks very much for the tip. This is very important for my security.

Greeting, Thank you for this information!

like this

THANK YOU FOR THAT INFO. THAT OLD SAYING IS SO TRUE, YOU'RE NEVER TO OLD TO LEARN.

Also, verify the content in the email before sending it. So many times I get forwards that contain bad info.

Not forward

My e-mails have come from so called relatives or friends, but were span as I scrolled over their name on the in box it did not have their correct e-mail address. So be careful, I thin I opened one by accident and my computer crashed. don't know if that is what definatly caused it but its a great possibility. Also make sure you have a back up for your computer so you won't lose everything.

Leave a Comment

Comment Policy

Read Our Privacy Act Statement

It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.