Summary: Message claims that those who forward an email to a specified number of people will receive a free power inverter from Indian based power technologies company Luminous (Full commentary below).
Example:(Submitted, July 2009)
Subject: Guys Get a free inverter by forwarding this mail...
Luminous is distributing free inverters & batteries for their brand promotion. They hope to increase their popularity and sale by this campaign. All you need to do is send an email about this promotion to 6 people and you will receive a free 600VA inverter.
However, if you send an email to 20 or more people, you will receive a 3KVA Inverter.
Make sure you send a copy to: email@example.com
According to this message, all you need to do to receive free power products from Luminous is forward the message on to others. Luminous is a company based in India that sells power technology products such as inverters and batteries. The message claims that recipients who forward the email to 6 people will receive a free Luminous 600VA inverter while those that forward it to 20 or more people will receive a free Luminous 3KVA inverter.
However, the claims in the message are untrue. Those who forward the email will not be rewarded with free Luminous products. In fact, the message is just another reworking of an old hoax that claimed that Nokia was giving away free mobile phones to people who forwarded the message. A comparison between the Luminous version and the older Nokia version shown below reveals the strong similarities between the two:
Nokia Is Giving Away Phones For "FREE"!!
Nokia is trying word-of-mouth advertising to introduce its products.And the reward you receive for advertising for them is a phone free of cost! To receive your free phone all you need to do is send this email out to 8 people (for a free Nokia 6210) or to 20 people (for a free Nokia WAP).Within 2 weeks you will receive a free phone. (They contact you via your email address).
You must send a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org
The original Nokia hoax has subsequently spawned a number of variants, including one that claimed that Ericsson was giving away free laptops to those who send on a promotional email:
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 qualify is to send this mail to 8 people you know. Within 2 weeks, you will receive Ericcson T18. But if you can send it to 20 people or more, you will receive Ericsson R320.
Make sure to send a copy to: email@example.com
A senior manager of marketing at Luminous has confirmed to me that the message is a hoax and does not originate with the company. Moreover, emails sent to the contact email address specified in the hoax email are returned as undeliverable.
In fact, no legitimate company is ever likely to engage in a haphazard and uncontrollable promotion based on how many times a particular email is forwarded. The message contains no time limits or conditions of participation, which means that a company that engaged in such a promotion might find itself obligated to give away thousands of expensive products as the promotional email circulated randomly to hundreds of thousands or even millions of people around the world. While companies often offer free or discounted products as part of advertising promotions, such giveaways are likely to be tightly controlled via specific terms and conditions, strict geographical boundaries and set time limits.
Any email that claims that the recipient can get free products, services or money just for forwarding an email is almost certain to be a hoax. Pranksters have longed used this ruse and it has been the driving force behind a large number of widely circulated email hoaxes. One of the oldest and most wide-spread of these hoaxes is a message that claims that Bill Gates of Microsoft is conducting a beta test and will pay money to all who forward a test email to others. Versions of the hoax have circulated continuously for more than a decade.