Hoax: Ericsson Free Laptops

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Email chain letter claims phone manufacturer Ericsson will give away free laptop computers to those who forward the message to at least eight people.

Circulating since: April 2000 (note: all links on this page will open up another brower window Opens a new browser window)

You might get a chain email suggesting that Sony Ericsson is trying to publicise its brands by giving away T18 laptops to everyone who forwards the message to eight other people, or a R320 laptop if you send it to 20 others.

Just so you know, Sony Ericcson doesn't make laptops. It makes phones. The best test for these types of email hoaxes is to ask yourself a) is the offer too good to be true and b) how will the promoters recover their costs from the promotion if it were true.

"This email is global," said a spokeswoman. "But these products do not exist and the emails have nothing to do us."

This is an example of such a promotion dated May 12, 2009:

Subject: FW: free laptops

Dear All,
Ericsson are distributing free laptops for their brand promotion. They are hoping to increase their popularity and sales with this campaign.

All you need to do is send an email about this promotion to 8 people and you will receive an Ericsson T18 laptop.

However, if you send an email to 20 people or more you will receive an Ericsson R320 laptop.

Kindly ensure that you cc to Anna at Ericsson so that she will know you have sent the email.

Make sure you copy Anna@Ericsson.co.uk to your emails.

Analysis:

Here's a chain letter that doesn't even make sense on the face of it.  To quote the main premise as stated in the version circulating since 2007:

The Ericsson Company is distributing free computer laptops in an attempt to match Nokia that has already done so.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but Nokia has never distributed free laptop computers to email forwarders, Nor are they or Sony Ericsson ever likely to do so.

All you need to do to qualify is to send this mail to 8 people you know. Within 2 weeks, you will receive Ericsson T18.

Sounds easy enough and tempting, too, but get this: the Ericsson T18 is a cell phone, not a computer. Moreover, it's a discontinued model. They don't sell it anymore!

But if you can send it to 20 people or more, you will receive an Ericsson R320.

Again, the Ericsson R320 is a cell phone, not a computer. And again discontinued.

What gives? The email above is slightly revised version of an old scam promising free phones to frequent forwarders. Though the phrase "computer laptops" has been substituted in the newer variant to reel in more people, evidently the anonymous prankster who revised the original couldn't be bothered to change the model numbers of the supposed promotional items.

The email address to which copies of the forwarded message are supposed to be sent, anna.swelung@ericsson.com, is a corruption of the address specified in the 2000 version of the hoax (anna.swelund@ericsson.com), which, of course, was never valid in the first place.


2009 update: On May 12, 2009 Sony Ericsson released the following statement in response to a new version of the hoax:

Hoax Competition Email

Sony Ericsson has been made aware of an online email campaign claiming that Ericsson will give away a free laptop computer to users who forward the promotional information. The same campaign includes a photograph of the Sony Ericsson logo and mentions an Ericsson contact name and email number.

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.


 

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