Junk mail, spam emails and – fake telegrams?

From Browsing The Files

Today email filters catch a lot of junk mail, phishing attempts and scams promising to enlarge your bank account – or other things. It might be easy for people of a certain age to look back and wish to return to a time when there wasn’t so much junk mail in our lives. But you’d have to go back farther than 1931 to get to it.

Even 90 years ago, people could and did sometimes get fake messages. This story, originally from Winston-Salem and reprinted in the News-Journal, shows how even the Greatest Generation wasn’t immune to spam. And they didn’t even have an ad blocker.

Warn Contestants Against Fakes – Reports of Prize Winners on Wires Now Are Fakes, Say Camel Officials: The appearance of a number of fake telegrams falsely notifying individuals in various sections of the country that they have been awarded one of the prizes offered by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in the Camel cigarette contest, led officers of the company to issue this statement today.

“We have learned through numerous letters, telegrams and newspaper articles in some sections of the country that practical jokers sending telegrams purporting to come from us notifying individuals that they have won a prize in our $50,000 Camel Cigarette contest,” the statement said.

“We regret the appearance of these hoaxes and wish to assure contestants and the public generally that NO prize selections have yet been made. In fact it will be several weeks before the judges and their staff can possibly make their selections.

Approximately a million answers were received in the contest. Obviously a fair reading of so many letters requires a considerable period of time. Every letter is being given a careful reading. Those with special merit must be studied.

We want to thank all those who entered the contest and to ask them to be patient. Several more weeks must elapse before the judges can render a decision. The names of all winners will be included in our formal announcements just as quickly as the letters can be examined and selections determined.”

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