A semi-criminal activity in which a user of the Internet receives an email which contains the name and addresses of a number of other users. The letter asks for a sum of money to be sent to the first name on the list and asks the recipient to remove this name and add their own at the bottom of the list. Finally the recipient is asked to send the letter to a number of friends. Theoretically the recipient can make a large amount of money just by sending a small amount of money and reposting. This never happens: most recipients do not bother with chain letters, do not send money, and may even replace the name at the top of the email with their own. Such scams are as old as the postal service, but they have been given a new fillip by the mass use of email.