Please try to verify the accuracy of these msgs. before forwarding them. You can check out the validity on several internet sites, including http://urbanlegends.about.com/ , which had the following information about Penny.
CIWMB-Office of Local Assistance
PO Box 4025 (1001 I St.)
Sacramento, CA 95812-4025
Missing Child: Penny Brown
Description: Email hoax
Circulating since: Sept. 2001
Analysis: See below
Email text contributed by J. Schroeder, 21 Sep 2001:
PLEASE LOOK AT PICTURE THEN FORWARD
I am asking you all, begging you to please, forward this email on to anyone and everyone you know, PLEASE. My 9 year old girl, Penny Brown, is missing. She has been missing for now two weeks. It is still not too late, Please help us.
If anyone anywhere knows anything, sees anything, please contact me at email@example.com
I am including a picture of her. All prayers are appreciated!!
It only takes 2 seconds to forward this on, if it was your child, you would want all the help you could get. Please.
thank you for your kindness, hopefully you can help us.
G208, Health Sciences Centre
Faculty of Medicine
University of Calgary
[Phone number deleted]
[Fax number deleted] (fax)
Comments: Compare the first sentence of this message to that of two other questionable missing child alerts: Kelsey Brooke Jones and C.J. Mineo Jr. They're exactly the same, as are several later sentences. This doesn't bode well for its authenticity.
We could find no record of a missing child by the name of "Penny Brown" in any of the usual databases. Furthermore, there have been no news reports on a missing child by that name in the Calgary media. When we contacted the Calgary Police Department, its Missing Persons Coordinator replied as follows: "At this time we regard this email as a hoax. We have not received any official complaint regarding this matter and I feel that if this was legitimate, a parent would have contacted us."
Monzine Jang, whose signature line appears at the bottom of most versions of the alert, is a real person whose current voicemail message states that she did not author the email, Penny Brown is not her child, and she, too, believes the alert to be a hoax. Unsurprisingly, the contact email address, "firstname.lastname@example.org," yields an "Inbox Full" autoresponse when mail is sent to it.
The true identity of the child in the photograph is unknown.
Update - Austin, Texas version: As often happens when a forwarded email spreads, variants appear with different signature blocks tailing the message. One new version "signed" by a woman in Austin, Texas makes it seem as though the child is missing from that city instead of Calgary. Not true. The alert is still a hoax, as confirmed by a recent article in the Austin American-Statesman.