{New York}
On Mon, 11 Jul 1994, Ara Rubyan wrote:
> Recently in conjunction with the post on metered pricing for Internet, I saw
> the following message here:
> ==================================================This is a well-known scam.
>  Beware!
> Jeffrey
> {New York}
>  =================================================
> Could we be more specific please? What scam? Who stands to gain from it? When
> did it start? Where is this going? Why is it a scam?  How does it work???
An excerpt from the Electronic Frontier's Foundation Guide to the Internet:
     Like the rest of the world, Usenet has its share of urban legends
and questionable activities.  There are three in particular that plague
the network.  Spend more than, oh, 15 minutes within Usenet and you're
sure to run into the Brain Tumor Boy, the plot by the evil FCC to tax
your modem and Dave Rhode's miracle cure for poverty.  For the record,
here's the story on all of them:
brain tumor boy, chain letter deleted
........Don't send any cards to the Federal Communications Commission,
     In 1987, the FCC considered removing a tax break it had granted
CompuServe and other large commercial computer networks for use of the
national phone system.  The FCC quickly reconsidered after alarmed users
of bulletin-board systems bombarded it with complaints about this "modem
     Now, every couple of months, somebody posts an "urgent" message
warning Net users that the FCC is about to impose a modem tax.  This is
NOT true.  The way you can tell if you're dealing with the hoax story
is simple: it ALWAYS mentions an incident in which a talk-show host on
KGO radio in San Francisco becomes outraged on the air when he reads a
story about the tax in the New York Times.
     Another way to tell it's not true is that it never mentions a
specific FCC docket number or closing date for comments.
     Save that letter to your congressman for something else.
     Sooner or later, you're going to run into a message titled "Make
Money Fast."  It's your basic chain letter.  The Usenet version is always
about some guy named Dave Rhodes who was on the verge of death, or
something, when he discovered a perfectly legal way to make tons of money
-- by posting a chain letter on computer systems around the world. Yeah,