Craig's chain mail hoax

Howard Lake | 28 July 1998 | News

UK Fundraising has covered the Craig Shergold chain letter hoax before (see October 1997 Monthly Highlights). This month ThirdSector magazine is highlighting the hoax. This time the chain letter is the ‘Craig John’ variation, which asks for compliments slips to be sent to his home in Carshalton, Surrey, to break the world record.

It is not a genuine appeal for a number of reasons. First, the Guinness Book of Records does not condone such a record-breaking attempt, and nor does it have a category for that kind of activity, whether for business cards or compliments slips. Secondly, ‘Craig John’ does not exist. He is another variation on the Craig Shergold story. The latter Craig does exist, indeed he is now fully recovered, but he continues to receive 1,000 unwanted letters each day.

A number of charities have received the request to send a compliments slip and pass on the appeal to ten more organisations. One staff member was worried that this could be an attempt to acquire charities’ letterheads for fraudulent purposes.

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Sadly, this hoax is not going to stop for a long time. “The appeal has even found its way onto the Internet”, reports ThirdSector. UK Fundraising’s Howard Lake wrote about the online version of the hoax in his 1996 book “Direct Connection’s guide to Fundraising on the Internet“. Sadly, according to ThirdSector, it seems that there is yet another hoax circulating, this time in the name of fictitious Portuguese child, Sonia Magalahes-Semena.