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New York Times mistakenly e-mails millions about subscriptions

An e-mail sent to millions of New York Times subscribers telling recipients that their subscription had been canceled was believed to be fake. But the Times now says it was simply a mistake.

Editor's note: The headline and story have been updated to reflect the latest news.

The New York Times is now saying that a believed-to-be bogus e-mail that told millions of subscribers that their subscriptions had been canceled actually did come from the newspaper company. But the e-mail, which was meant for only 300 recipients, was instead sent to more than 8 million subscribers, a tweet from Amy Chozick, a media reporter for the Times states.

Screenshot by Anne Dujmovic/CNET

This morning millions of New York Times subscribers received an e-mail informing them that their subscription had been canceled and then went on to offer a 50 percent discount if they renewed their subscription and used a special code. When CNET tried calling the number listed, there was nothing but a busy signal.

After a flurry of tweets about the e-mail showed up on the social-networking site Twitter, the newspaper responded, stating that the e-mail was a fake.

Screenshot by David Hamilton/CNET

Some people speculated that the e-mail header had been spoofed to make it look like the message had come from the Times, since the same e-mail address had been used to send legitimate correspondence. It turns out the e-mails were legit.

The New York Times reporter covering this story is promising a follow-up to offer details on how this mistake happened.

Here is the text from the original e-mail:

Dear Home Delivery Subscriber,

Our records indicate that you recently requested to cancel your home delivery subscription. Please keep in mind when your delivery service ends, you will no longer have unlimited access to and our NYTimes apps.

We do hope you'll reconsider.

As a valued Times reader we invite you to continue your current subscription at an exclusive rate of 50% off for 16 weeks. This is a limited-time offer and will no longer be valid once your current subscription ends.*

Continue your subscription and you'll keep your free, unlimited digital access, a benefit available only for our home delivery subscribers. You'll receive unlimited access to on any device, full access to our smartphone and iPad» apps, plus you can now share your unlimited access with a family member.

To continue your subscription call 1-877-698-0025 and mention code 38H9H (Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. E.D.T.).

Update 1:02 p.m. PT: This story has been updated throughout to reflect the latest developments.