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To all the members who received my e-mail about Rachel,

It saddens and sickens me to have to tell you I've just discovered that the e-mail was a hoax.

My father had forwarded it to me this evening. I have to say that I did suspect it might have been a potential virus. However, my father assured me there was no virus, as it had already been checked numerous times.

A friend of mine e-mailed me the following information. I only hope that you can all read this, before you forward it on like I did?

With sincere apologies,

Lesley Ann

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Rachel Arlington Charity Hoax
Summary:Email claims that AOL and Zdnet will donate money to help a child with brain cancer every time the email is forwarded.

Hi.. I am a 29 year old father. Me and my wife have had a wonderful life
together. God blessed us with a child too. Our daughter's name is Rachel,
and she is 10 years old. Not long ago did the doctors detect brain cancer in her little body. There is only one way to save her and that isan operation. Sadly we don't have the money for the operation. AOL and Zdnet have agreed to help us. The only way they can help is this:

If you send this email to other people, AOL will track this email and count
how many people get it.. Every person that opens this email and sends it to at least 3 people will give us 32c. Please help us.

George
Arlington.

Commentary:
The Rachel Arlington hoax is just one of several prank emails that claim a child or family will be helped financially if an email is forwarded. Like
all emails that try to convince recipients that an email is being tracked,
this is pure nonsense. Even if a large company like AOL did agree to help
the alleged "Rachel Arlington" it is highly unlikely that this help would be
dependant on the pointless, haphazard and erratic forwarding of an email. The concept of individual emails being "tracked" as they journey through cyberspace is a common theme among hoax emails. The only way to "track" an email would be to embed some sort of hidden code in the email and it would have to be continually forwarded in HTML format in order to contain the code. The logistics of tracking an email that could ultimately be forwarded thousands of times are clearly problematical at best.

In any case, tracking an email in the way described would raise all sorts of privacy issues and it is highly unlikely that any ethical company would
knowingly participate in such a practice.

Another hoax that uses a similar tactic is Debbie Shwartz Charity Hoax,
which also claims that money will be donated every time an email is
forwarded. As well, the Jasmine Thomas Charity Hoax claims the American Red Cross will donate money when the email is passed on.

There have been several variations of the Rachel Arlington hoax. The one included here tacks on a sugary-sweet prologue supposedly intended to add weight to "George's" spurious claim. The original (included below)began circulation in 2000.

In short, there is a glaring error in the subject line of this hoax email.
It should read:

"DO delete ~ its CERTAINLY NOT being tracked"

Hi I am a 29 year old father. Me and my wife have had a wonderful life
together. God blessed us with a child too. Our daughter's name is Rachel,
and she is 10 years old. Not long ago did the doctors detect brain cancer in her little body. There is only one way to save her: An operation. Sadly, we don't have enough money to pay the price. AOL and Zdnet have agreed to help us. The only way they can help us is this way: I send this email to you and you send it to other people. AOL will track this email and count how many people get it. EVERY PERSON THAT OPENS THIS EMAIL AND SENDS IT TO AT LEAST 3 PEOPLE will give us 32 cents. PLEASE HELP US.

George Arlington.

Write-up by Brett M.Christensen

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