Chain letter

related topics
{work, book, publish}
{law, state, case}
{system, computer, user}
{son, year, death}
{god, call, give}
{company, market, business}
{@card@, make, design}
{black, white, people}
{acid, form, water}
{math, number, function}
{language, word, form}
{theory, work, human}
{school, student, university}
{specie, animal, plant}
{service, military, aircraft}
{food, make, wine}
{war, force, army}

A typical chain letter consists of a message that attempts to induce the recipient to make a number of copies of the letter and then pass them on to as many recipients as possible. Common methods used in chain letters include emotionally manipulative stories, get-rich-quick pyramid schemes, and the exploitation of superstition to threaten the recipient with bad luck or even physical violence or death if he or she "breaks the chain" and refuses to adhere to the conditions set out in the letter. Chain letters started as actual letters that one received in the mail. Today, chain letters are generally no longer actual letters. They are sent through e-mails, posts on social network sites, and text messages.

In the United States, chain letters that request money or other items of value and promise a substantial return to the participants (like the infamous Make Money Fast scheme) are considered a form of gambling and therefore illegal.[1] Other types of chain letters are viewed as a general nuisance in that frequently multiplying letters clog up the postal system and do not function as correspondence mail, but rather, a game. Some colleges and military bases have passed regulations stating that in the private mail of college students and military personnel, respectively, chain letters are not authorized and will be thrown out. However, it is often difficult to distinguish chain letters from genuine correspondence.

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The oldest known channel for chain letters is written, or printed, on letters on paper. These might be exchanged hand-to-hand or distributed through the mail. One notorious early example was the "Prosperity Club" or "Send-a-Dime" letter. This letter started in Denver, Colorado in 1935, based on an earlier luck letter. It soon swamped the Denver post office with hundreds of thousands of letters before spilling into St. Louis and other cities.[2]

In Africa, most chain letters take religious perspectives especially relating to Christianity and Islam.[citation needed] Often these letters originate from Photocopy centers, claiming to have originated from the Pope, with the intent of persuading people to make copies of such letters. The content usually gives one or two examples of people, sometimes public figures who obeyed and were rewarded and others who disobeyed and suffered heavily, which may even include cases of deaths and of someone becoming a millionaire overnight.[citation needed] These types of letters will flourish for some days and will die out naturally, partly based on the economic realities of the people, and maybe many would also reason that if that was truly the original letter, then it cannot contain cases of people who had broken or continued the chain.

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