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Four rules of email forwarding

You’ve received an email and now you want to send it to someone else. While it’s simple to just click “forward” and fill in the address box, it’s a dangerous thing to do. Sticking to these email forwarding guidelines can help prevent the spread of viruses and will keep the email addresses of your friends and associates private.

Email forwarding rules

1. Remove all email addresses, headers and commentary

Before forwarding an email, remove any information that isn’t absolutely necessary. At a minimum, make sure to remove the names and addresses of previous senders before forwarding. This is a matter of security, privacy, and courtesy.

Why do we recommend doing this when email forwarding?

First, a forwarded message often looks horrible. Removing extraneous information simply makes the email easier to read. You’re forwarding it for a reason. Make sure that the most important information isn’t buried or hard to distinguish. Make it as easy as possible for the person receiving your information to understand what you want and need. Secondly, when you do not remove the contact information of the sender (or anyone else who is listed in the email), you are sharing those email addresses with third parties without the consent of the address owners. Chances are that you wouldn’t want your email address given to people you don’t know just because somebody forwarded an email. Extend the same courtesy.

2. When sending an email to many people, use BCC: (Blind Carbon Copy)

For security and privacy reasons, when sending an email to many people at one time, put your email address in the TO: field, and all others in the BCC: field. (Email addresses that you place in the TO: field or the CC: field are visible to everyone who receives the message. However, those addresses are invisible when you use BCC:.)

Why does this matter?

Many viruses and spam programs can sift through mail files, but a BCC: field acts as an anti-spam precaution. Using BCC: reduces the likelihood that recipients will receive spam or a virus from another recipient’s infected computer.

Consider seeking permission before forwarding any email, and definitely do so before posting it online.

4. Never forward chain letters

This subject is so important, that we wrote an entire article about it. Read “Why You Should Not Forward Chain Letters.”

Do you have any questions about email forwarding?

Was this article Four Rules of Email Forwarding helpful? If you have any additional questions, please email us at [email protected] or leave a comment below. We will do our best to get back to you in a timely manner.

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