questionshow do you deal with the serial email forwarders…


Not going to happen. I have relatives that have been doing this sort of thing since they gained the ability to send email. That's right. I've been dealing with this, in some cases, since the early nineties. Get used to it. You can call them, send them email, point them to web sites, or (gasp!) encyclopedias, you can threaten physical violence, public embarrassment, or shunning.

Your best is simply to have a canned response to them along the lines of:

Are you seriously sending me this again? I thought we'd agreed that I was always happy to hear from you, when an email is addressed to me but not when it goes to a long list of folks. In addition, this is a chain letter, and you know those make me sad. Please don't do this again.

By the way, how are (insert personal message here)?

{I also have three email addresses for various family members, with one specifically reserved for repeat offenders.}



I pretty much just delete the emails without even reading them. Once in a blue moon, the title actually catches my attention and it's either interesting or good for a snicker or something. But my general approach is to ignore.


I think my MIL just discovered email this year, so I'm actually seeing email forwards that started in 1996. I responded with a simple, "I find some of these forwards offensive or flat out false, please stop sending them to me." She took me off her mass mail list. For people that don't stop - their emails go straight to junk-mail.


My mom does this; She would always send them to my work e-mail. So, I told her that my work filters all the fake/spam mail so I never get them. Eventually (about a year) she stopped sending them to me.

Previous to that, I would always send Snopes responses back.

On a side note, because she opens all those e-mails, she always calls me to walk her through removing this "new virus" she got, but has no idea how she got it. Unfortunately, that's a small price to pay to know computers.


Here's two things I tell the forwarders:

1. By forwarding e-mails, they are likely giving not only their own, but everyone else's e-mail addy to spammers. (I don't add that I consider the e-mail forwards themselves to be spam.)

2. They would be better served (if they are unable/unwilling to research what's in the e-mail) by posting the e-mail to a social network site so that everyone could see it at once. (I don't add that others will send them to Snopes, etc., relieving me of continually having to do it.) Better still, there are sites like Gather ( that award points for page views on postings that can be cashed in for gift cards, so they could be earning money on this stuff instead of using up the time (and building ill-will, though I bite my tongue and don't add that) of friends and family with their forwards.


I had an acquaintance who started sending me alarmist right wing e-mails that could easily be dis-proven. After responding to a few with opposing facts (snopes, politifact, etc) I stopped getting them. I don't know if she got smarter, or just took me off her mailing list - LOL!

As for close friends, I will generally just delete without reading. However if it gets too out-of-control I will ask them to not include me as a recipient on that kind of stuff.


I created a folder and a filter rule for any message with a FW or FWD in the message line. It's the place where chain emails go to die.


I had a friend who was doing this, and she wouldn't stop, I was getting 10-20 a day, even after I begged her to quit. Then I phoned her, in pretend alarm, and told her that she gave me a virus, and it had crashed my computer. I told her that the first virus removal was on me, but if I got another spammy forward from her, I would be forced to put her on my spam list, because I couldn't afford to have a pro removing viruses all the time. I also stressed that I didn't want to, because I enjoyed her personal emails. She finally got the message, and I only get a few a year from her now, usually on holidays. The real benefit, is that now the ones she sends me are for me, they aren't some random garbage, tossed to the wind.


One word....FILTER I have a filter set up to direct all mail to the trash or spam folders. On gmail I have them going into the archive folder and I think I've added some defining attributes, such as 'title' contains the word(s), LUCK, MONEY, etc....


@bogie21: Love to pull out Snopes on forwarded e-mails


I follow through with the physical violence that @shrdlu threatens people with. Unfortunately, this causes my physical inbox (my mailbox) to be filled with spammy restraining orders and subpoenas to go to court because I'm being sued for assault. But at least I don't have to send my e-mails to 24 friends in the next 24 hours or else some clown will murder me with a chainsaw while I sleep.


I just give those people an email address I only check once a week to make sure there's no actual important emails in there. There never are.


Baseball bat, shovel and an unmarked grave.

Or a filter works as well. Whichever is easier.


I've told them all, long ago (including my mother) that I have no time to look at these things, and it would be great if they stopped sending them.

I found that being straight-up honest worked fine, and I don't think anyone had any hard feelings.


My DH had an old friend from France who used to do this, including tons of pics, when we had DIAL-UP. It used to piss me off no end. I told him to kindly ask his friend to stop. He did, once, twice, three times. But still got the emails. So I said he was all mine. I signed the bugger up to a dozen email lists IN ENGLISH (though he's French). The next time we heard from him he apologized for not having written in a long time because he had all kinds of difficulties on his computer. He never sent us one of those things again.