A quick, easy, and hilarious office email prank

Sometimes the office can get boring and you need to mix it up a bit. This prank is very quick and (relatively) safe. The gag is to fool a co-worker into thinking you have sent a very inappropriate reply to one of their emails and accidentally copied in (replied to all) one or more of your important clients. It’s worked more than once for me and hasn’t failed yet.

The trick is to wait for the right email to reply to. Some criteria to look out for:

  1. Watch for a email sent to you and one (or more) of your company’s important clients by a co-worker (that won’t slit your car tires after the prank)
  2. The client’s email addresses must be easily altered in a way that your co-worker won’t notice they have been changed
  3. Think of something funny to reply. Call your co-worker a douchebag, reveal something embarrassing about your co-worker, make a sexual remark  to your co-worker or about the client (be careful with this), make a rude comment about the client, etc.

Office prankOnce you have a good email picked out to reply to, write your message to your co-worker. Once it’s good to go, add in the clients email addresses but change them creatively while replicating the scenario of an accidental ‘Reply to All’.  For instance, ‘bobvance@rrmachinegroup.com’ could be changed to ‘bobvance@rmachinegroup.com’ or ‘sarahjacobsen@thewebgroup.com’ could be altered to ‘sarajacbosen@thewebgroup.com’. Something you think that your co-worker wouldn’t catch at first glance. Make sure you change the name enough that it won’t go to someone else in the company/domain! Also, it is good practice to triple check your work here… because a mistake could be devastating for everyone.

After sending the email, expect a frantic call or text message  from your co-worker in about 15-30 minutes! Start by playing dumb and decide how far you want to take it. Good luck!

I have provided an example below:

To: seth.johnson@mycompany.com; valeriesmith@thelaborgroup.net
CC: someoneelseinontheprank@mycompany.com
Subject: RE: Follow-up on content for the brochure cover


Don’t hold your breath on that content, Valerie is a pain and has been dragging on this. I know you have a big crush on her though, so I guess we can manage to deal with it for now… 😉

-Your Name

—– Original Message —–

From: seth.johnson@mycompany.com
To: valeriesmith@thelaborgroup.com, me@mycompany.com
CC: someoneelseinontheprank@mycompany.com
Subject: Follow-up on content for the brochure cover

Hi Valerie,

I am just emailing you to see if there is any progress on the brochure cover content.



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  1. John
    Posted January 25, 2010 at 2:43 am | Permalink

    Dumb idea. No upside, lots of downside.

  2. Posted January 25, 2010 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    @John: Office pranks aren’t for everyone or every situation and office environment. There is always risk at play, but the upside comes from the satisfaction of successfully pranking someone who had it coming and getting a good laugh.

  3. Posted May 18, 2010 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Although funny, I’d personally be weary of having a CC to a client domain. I’d be more inclined to change the domain name ever so slightly as opposed to the username as many companies have setup a catch-all email address which would pick up on non-existent username variations. You wouldn’t want your emails ending up in the client’s inbox.

  4. Posted May 18, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    @Corey: Good point, didn’t think about that!

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