Example: [Collected via e-mail, February 2007]
The Ericsson Company is distributing free computer Lap-tops in an attempt to match Nokia that has already done so. Ericsson hopes to increase its popularity this way. For this reason, they are giving away the new WAP laptops. All you need to do to qualify is to send this mail to
Variations: A version that began circulating in May 2009 states: "According to Snopes this appears to be a legit offer." Which is false — this is not a legitimate offer. Likewise, the October 2009 versions that assert: "I have checked this on Snopes and it is true" and "I DID check Snopes - it IS legit ... They're trying to match a recent deal by Nokia!" are also lies.
Origins: The above-quoted jape is yet another version of a long-running Internet hoax that has been circulating in one form or another since 1997. The names of the companies involved and the supposed rewards to be had periodically change, but the basic
Way back in April 2000, after an iteration of this hoax stated that Nokia was giving away free cell phones, a new version was set loose claiming that Ericsson was trying to
Our main competitor, Nokia, is giving free mobile phones away on the Internet. Here at Ericsson we want to counter their offer. So we are giving our newest WAP-phones away as well. They are especially developed for Internet happy customers who value cutting edge technology. By giving free phones away, we get valuable customer feedback and a great Word-of-Mouth effect.
All you have to do, is to forward this message to
Best of luck
Executive Promotion Manager for Ericsson Marketing
Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved. Reproduction, transfer, distribution or storage of part or all of the contents in any form without the prior written permission of Ericsson is prohibited except in accordance with the following terms. Ericsson consents to you browsing Ericsson World Wide Web pages on you computer or WAP-phone and printing copies of these pages for private use only.
Five years later, in May 2005, the Ericsson version was dusted off, updated to include an offer for free laptops (even though the referenced
Thought you might be interested in a free computer for your child!!! The Ericsson Company is distributing free computer
All you need to qualify is to send this mail to
Make sure to send a copy (cc) to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The resurgence of this hoax in May 2009 prompted Sony Ericcson to issue yet another disclaimer:
Sony Ericsson confirms that this email campaign is a hoax. In addition, Sony Ericsson confirms that the Ericsson contact name does not exist.
All competitions and promotions involving Sony Ericsson are run through official channels such as Sony Ericsson's website or Sony Ericsson's partners' websites. Please be wary of any competition or promotion that appears to come from outside of Sony Ericsson or Sony Ericsson's partners official channels. Examples of these include via spam emails or SMS.
Please do not reply to or forward the email if you receive it.
The bottom line is that no matter which incarnation of this silliness one receives, the principle is the same: There's still no free lunch, and big companies aren't going to hand out fabulous vacations,
Last updated: 19 October 2009
Abdullah, Halimah. "Abercrombie & Fitch." The Dallas Morning News. 24 February 1999 (p. E6). Brenner, Jo-El Glenn. "The Universe of Mars Inc." The Toronto Star. 10 May 1992 (p. H1). Crabb, Don. "Bill Gates: An Urban Legend in His Own Time." Chicago Sun-Times. 15 February 1998 (p. 50). Gotting, Peter. "Gullibility Goes Mobile as the Latest E-Mail Hoax Hits the Net." Sydney Morning Herald. 14 April 2000. Reuters. "Coke: Chain Letter Claims Are False." The New York Times. 8 March 2000.