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AOL/Microsoft Merger Hoax  

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(This one of several variations of the e-mail being distributed)

|| The True Facts ||

Subj: AOL & Microsoft Merger/HUGE MONEY HURRY UP
Date: (varies)

> I am forwarding this because the person who sent
> it to me is a good friend and does not send me
> junk. Microsoft and AOL are now the largest
> Internet company and in an effort make sure that
> Internet explorer remains the most widely used
> program, Microsoft and AOL are running an e-mail
> beta test. When you forward this e-mail to
> friends, Microsoft can and will track it (if
> you are a Microsoft Windows user) for a two week
> time period. For every person that you forward
> this e-mail to, Microsoft will pay you $245.00,
> for every person that you sent it to that
> forwards it on, Microsoft will pay you $243.00
> and for every third person that receives it,
> you will be paid $241.00. Within two weeks,
> Microsoft will contact you for your address and
> then send you a check. I thought this was a scam
> myself, but two weeks after receiving this e-mail
> and forwarding it on, Microsoft contacted me for
> my e-mail and within days, I received a check for
> $24800.00.

> Brent Jones
> FCG Inc.
> Wayne PA
> 610 225 6787

The above e-mail is one of many Internet hoaxes and is completely false. The true facts are:

  1. America Online (AOL) merged with Netscape (1998) and Time Warner (2000) not with Microsoft. Microsoft's MSN network still remains in fierce competition with AOL, especially after AOL blocked Microsoft from contacting AOL users via MSN's new Messenger service, a program used to send instant messages. In any event, mergers of this kind must also be approved by both the Federal Trade Commission and the company's shareholders, and of course no shareholders have been notified.

  2. The tracking of e-mail has not yet evolved to the realm where it can be tracked. Rather, e-mail when sent is broken up into little pieces called "packets." These packets are then sent over the internet, many taking several different avenues to get to the intended receipient. Because e-mail is broken up, it cannot be traced. To do so would require tracking each individual packet through the many different countries that the packets travel through. However, e-mail can be traced back to the sender's Internet Service Provider (ISP). From there, with help of the sender's ISP (usually not forthcoming unless some law has been broken), the person who sent the e-mail can be identified by the order in which he or she logged on to the ISP. Also, in certain instances, thanks to Microsoft's GUID encoding, the e-mail's author can also be indentified (this is how they caught the author of the Melissa virus).

  3. There is no listing for a Brent Jones in Wayne, Pennsylvania and the telephone number found in the e-mail is bogus.

  4. The e-mail address listed in the e-mail is also bogus. The domain is registered to a California corporation known as FCG Enterprises, Inc.; however, it is not active.

    In view of the above,

    Nothing in the above e-mail even comes close to being true; and based upon all of its inconsistencies and falsities, it has been dismissed as a really bad hoax. It is yet another myth attempting to make people think that the Internet will make them a millionaire without any effort, which is simply untrue. This e-mail runs around in varying forms every few months. Don't let yourself be fooled!

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