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For over 50 years chain letters have arrived in mailboxes, and they have arrived from unknown sources in my mailbox periodically over the last few years. I now receive them not only by U.S. postal mail, but via email, as well. They are noted by their predictions of either miracles if I do as told, or their predictions of personal doom and failure if certain actions outlined in the letter are not carried out in the letter’s declared time frame.

To continue the chain and receive either the blessing or avoid the disaster, you have to purchase stamps and most often insert a dollar into every letter that you mail to the chain list, adding your name to the bottom of the chain letter list and removing the name at the top of the chain letter list. You then sit back and wait for money to arrive at your doorstep.

Sending money in a chain letter request is illegal. The Postal and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations forbid the practice. Refer to the Postal Inspection Service for rules regarding chain letters.

Other good sources for information on chain letters include “Pyramid Schemes” by Debra A. Valentine, General Counsel for the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Trade Commission Booklet, FTC Consumer Alert! Profits in Pyramid Schemes? Don’t Bank on It!

Chain letters often try to manipulate the U.S. Postal and FTC regulations by offering a gift for your participation, making them supposedly legal. In one letter I received the sender said the letter was the gift and that I could send to the chain without worry of prosecution. I felt enormously comforted.

Again, names of the chain letters floating around in the offline and online worlds can be obtained from the above sources. They are entirely too numerous for me to mention here. The illegal nature of participating in chain letters would be enough to deter me, and I would encourage you to rethink any participation chain letters.

There are legitimate, long term ways to make a good living on the Internet. I have researched hundreds of business opportunities and I recommend many of them. They require more work than a chain letter, but the satisfaction and long term reward are far greater.


This Entrepreneurship article was written by Gracie Bowers on 4/5/2006

Gracie Bowers is an industry established leader in reviewing and critiquing home based businesses. Her website, on home based business opportunities, provides a wide array of insite on available programs. You can even view thebest home based business which she uses to make her money, allowing her to have free time to write!