Thursday, April 05, 2007

In Case you missed it!

Here's the just can't see the video.

8 On Your Side: Chain Letter Alert
Thursday April 05, 2007 12:12pm Reporter: Cindy Morrison Posted By: Kevin King

Tulsa - Thieves have found a new way to take your money. And, it could be sitting in your mail box right now. It's a new twist on the old chain letter. It promises you'll be rich if you just keep the letter going. 8 On Your Side investigator Cindy Morrison explains how it works.

The letter shows up on a regular envelope and claims you can make hundreds of thousands of dollars by following the instructions to the 'T'. But, one of the requests has our viewers worried about their personal information.

Brenda Hughes was targeted twice with the chain letter.

"I just thought it was strange that it was sent to me by someone I did not know," she says.

They all start out the same, claiming to be sent by a retired attorney who stumbled onto this easy way to make money -- just send out a dollar to the names on the list. Then, put your name on the letter and send it to hundreds of other people.

Within weeks, you should be rich. But, where are you supposed to get hundreds of names? The letter says it's easy. You can buy lists of names off websites, over the phone, even by mail.

But Brenda says she doesn't know how her name got on those lists in the first place.

"I'm not in the phone book," she says. "Not listed anywhere, my name, address or phone number."

So, our team started digging to find out just how those lists are compiled. We learned almost any company can sell your name. That means, every time you give information to stores, catalogs or to websites, you could end up on a list.

These days, it's impossible to keep your address private.

"If you have a car or home or pay utilities, chances are you're going to be listed on some website," says Postal Inspector Al Chapa. "Those are public records."

As for those chain letters, Chapa says they are illegal.

"It's based on false statements," he says. "In itself, you have mail fraud, but you also have fact that you're asking somebody to send you money for nothing."

The punishment for mail fraud depends on several factors, like the number of victims and the dollar losses. It could range from fines to jail time. If you get one of the letters, you can turn it over to the postmaster or postal inspector.

For more information on the chain letter, visit

No comments: