[StBernard] Email Petitions - what you need to know

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Tue Jun 2 22:01:10 EDT 2009

Hey Westley,

I thought this would be a good "pass on" to the gang. Over the past week
I've been googling and learned that everyone is wasting their time with
those email petitions we often receive. There are two basic things everyone
needs to keep in mind when considering signing them then passing them on to

First, it will never get read. Congress, member of Congress, the White
House, etc. automatically delete such emails. Clerks, secretaries and the
like are given very strict instruction to trash such correspondence,
espcially when it comes in an electronic format. In fact, they won't even
accept a fax of actual handwritten signatures on a petition. Such documents
are required to be originals, showing the original signature of each
petitioner. So, we are wasting our time with such email petition.

Second, the email can be edited. Remember, the next person you pass on the
petition to (or persons ahead of them) can edit anything stated in the email
they receive once they click the "forward" button. So, let's say the
petition is to save Medicare for elderly...the next person can go in, delete
the part about this being to save Medicare then type the purpose of the
signed list is to petition Congress to pass a low allowing people to walk
around naked in public. Yes, it sounds funny, but from that point on
strangers - possibly folks in your community - are seeing this and spot your
name and adress on the list. Within a few more passes you have millions of
strangers receiving this email petition.

Third, it's all a big "personal info gathering" scam...and the worst thing
is most people aren't even aware of it. I've learned many of those email
petition are started by people who couldn't give a rat's hoot about the
issue. What they do is attach some sort of tracing bug so that when you go
to forward the email to the next person of your choosing, the originator
automatically gets copies on it. From there they use the info to learn more
about you. Typically it's just for market gathering data, but some
inevitably try to use the data for ID fraud.

Westley, I'm sure with your techno background you can explain better how
some of this works. I understand you can have your email filter scan for
certain words in the "subject" box of the email to where it will
automatically delete any email with the key word(s). If so, how do you set
it up to scan for the word "petition?" For me, any future email petitions
that come to me will die in my delete folder.

- John Scurich

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