The original e-mail arrived in French… not entirely normal to begin with, although not unheard of. The original text is attached below. The title translated to 'FW: Free Computer (Verified)! At first I figured someone was forwarding a Craig's List post to me… people are giving away Pentium machines all the time. Not so…
A quick translation of the text (which was forwarded through eight or nine people before it got to me) is:
"Ericsson is giving away free laptops to counter Nokia who is doing the same. Ericsson hopes to improve its popularity. Because of this Ericsson is giving away its new portable WAP. All you have to do is forward this e-mail to 8 people. In approximately two weeks you will receive an Ericsson T18. If you forward it to 20 people or more you will also receive an Ericsson R320. However it is important that you also send your e-mail to Anna Swelunq at Ericsson. Important: It's not a scam… it works! So do yourself a favour and give yourself one of these laptops!"
So let's evaluate the e-mail and see how many things just don't make sense:
- Nobody gives away free laptops willy-nilly. If they did then I could have saved a lot of money on this one. Granted there are occasions when companies do give them away to select groups, but it is rare and never based on 'send this to 8 people.'
- Nokia makes cell phones and not laptops.
- Ericsson is an extremely popular company. They do not need to improve their popularity. Incidentally like Nokia they do not make laptops.
- A WAP is a wireless access point, not a model of laptop.
- Nobody is sending you anything for forwarding anything to 8, 20, or 60,000,000 people.
- The Ericsson T18 and R320 are both models of cell phones (not surprising, as Ericsson makes cell phones!). Incidentally both are extremely old models that have long since been discontinued.
- Any time someone tells you This is not a scam! then it likely is.
I asked Anna Swelunq of Ericsson for a comment on this scheme. I received the following answer:
"Sorry, this mail server does not recognize that e-mail address."
So let's review this one more time for the cheap seats: Stop forwarding e-mail to your entire contact list in the hopes of getting something for nothing! You will get nothing but responses from people on your contact list asking you to stop sending them garbage!
For a better of understanding of why these e-mails (like chain letters of old) are started, please read this article from my archives: http://mitchgarvis.com/blogs/mitch/archive/2006/08/21/virus-hoaxes.aspx
</Mitch stepping down from his soap box>
FW: Ordi gratuit(Vérifié) !
Bonjour à tous,
La société 'Éricsson' distribue gratuitement des ordinateurs portables ceci dans le but de contrer Nokia qui a fait de même.
Éricsson souhaite ainsi augmenter sa popularité.
Pour cette raison Éricsson distribue gratuitement le nouveau portable WAP.
Tout ce qu'il faut faire c'est envoyer ce mail à 8 de vos connaissances.
Dans environ deux semaines vous recevrez un Ericsson T18.
Si le message est envoyer à 20 personnes ou plus vous allez même recevoir un Éricsson R320.
Important: il faut envoyer une copie de votre e-mail à: anna.swelunq@Ericsson.com
Important: ce n'est pas un canular ça fonctionne!
Alors faites vous plaisir en vous offrant l'un de ces portables!