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Hoax e-mail becomes government worker's nightmare

May 18, 2001

A US government worker has been plagued by thousands of e-mails after forwarding on a hoax message with her name on it.

Rose Lambert sent on an e-mail to 100 friends which warned of HIV-tainted needles fixed to petrol pump handles. It was a hoax.

The message, with Ms Lambert's name and official title on it, has sparked thousands of replies to her inbox. She is still being plagued by e-mail, faxes and phone calls six months on.

Ms Lambert says she meant well. She was horrified by the petrol pump danger message and wanted to warn all her friends.

She now has to reply to each message with an apology and a retraction. She still gets about 30 replies each day, reports the Washington Post.

"It's been the bane of my existence, my worst nightmare," she said. "You wouldn't believe the response - India, Australia, Washington state. They all want to know, 'Is it true?' "

Ms Lambert, a government worker in Fairfax County, near Washington, now has her calls screened by a receptionist who asks, "Is this about the e-mail?"

She even gets calls at home.

The message with the urban myth, which begins "SADLY, THIS IS NOT A JOKE!!!!!!!!!!", is still circulating round the web.

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