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Another Hotmail Account Closure Hoax Email

Summary:
Email claims that your Hotmail account will be closed down unless you send the message to fifteen other Hotmail users (Full commentary below).



Status:
False

Example:(Submitted, November 2006)

Hotmail Closing Message

Text version:
Dear Hotmail User,
We understand that you have previously recieved many messages that have stated the closing of accounts not being used within our servers. This message, however, is your final warning. Within this message is encoded a small program that will located and debug your account when sent to fifteen other Hotmail users. If you do not send this message to fifteen Hotmail users within 24 hours of recieving this message, your account will be PERMANETLY SHUT-DOWN. When and if you send this, we hereby grant that you will no longer recieve such messages as this one.

We realize that this process is becoming an annoyance, however, this is the final message you will recieve from the Hotmail Announcement staff. Thank you for you time and cooperation.

Sincerely,

Calvin W. Kreantz
MSN Accounts Coordinator




Commentary:
This "warning" is just one more in a long line of hoaxes that claim the recipient's Hotmail or Yahoo account will be closed down if the message is not forwarded to a specified number of others. Although this version is a little more sophisticated than many of its predecessors, it is no less a load of nonsense.

This version arrives as an image file complete with official looking Hotmail logos. And it even makes a rather lame attempt to explain how your forwarding efforts would be recorded. According to the message, a "small program" is included within the email that sorts out who has sent the message to fifteen others and who hasn't.

The claims in the message are totally false. No legitimate company would base account termination decisions on how many times an individual account holder forwarded a particular message. MSN does indeed close accounts that are not being used, but this is only after a specified period of inactivity. According to Hotmail help files:

Your account becomes inactive if you do not sign in for 30 days, or within the first 10 days after signing up for an account. After an account becomes inactive, all messages, folders, and contacts are deleted, but the account name is still reserved.

If the account stays inactive for an additional 90 days, it is permanently deleted.

Given that MSN provides a free service, this seems like a reasonable and not unexpected restriction. However, MSN certainly does not send out emails to customers threatening account closure unless a certain number of messages are sent. Nor would the company be likely to embed a tracking program within their messages to count who sent what to whom. I'm sure MSN has quite sophisticated methods of ascertaining levels of account activity that do not involve embedded spyware.

These ridiculous "warnings" are nothing more than pointless spam and should be deleted.

References:
Hotmail Help
MSN 18 Contacts Hoax


Last updated: 14th November 2006
First published: 14th November 2006

Write-up by Brett M.Christensen