Don't fall for this email hoax to fight cancer


We all want to see breast cancer cured, so it's no surprise that people respond to an email that tells them that sending a single text message or email to a friend would cause a large national company to donate a buck to cancer research. Unfortunately, it's not true.

The email, according to, encourages the recipient to email or text this message to a friend: "What if it was ur grandmother, ur mother, daughter, sister, niece, aunt, cousin or ur best friend that had breast cancer? How would u feel?"

It promises that, for each email or text message sent, Verizon, Sprint/Nextel, T-Mobile, AT&T and MetroPCS would donate a dollar to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. The Komen Foundation is the largest fund raising organization for cancer research, having raised over a billion dollars since 1982. It does not deserve to be besmirched by this hoax. If you want to donate to this organization via a text message, it has a link for that.

I haven't found any reports that this message contains a virus or other malware; it appears to be simply a stupid stunt.

The hoax is a new iteration of an old theme. In the 1950s, cigarette companies included coupons with each pack of smokes that were redeemable for "gifts." At that time, an oft-repeated rumor claimed that these could be donated to one charity or another which would redeem them for iron lungs. Another version substituted seeing-eye dogs. Yet another claimed that pull tabs on cans (back when they pulled entirely free of the can) could be used to buy time on a dialysis machine.

I fail to see the humor in a hoax that takes advantage of our concern about such a killer as breast cancer.