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MTN Free Nokia Phone Hoax Email

Summary:
Message claims that South African communications company, MTN, is giving away free Nokia phones to those who forward the email to eight or more people (Full commentary below).



Status:
False

Example:(Submitted, February 2009)
Subject: MTN Promotion

Hello Everybody,

MTN is distributing free Mobile Phones for their brand promotion.

They hope to increase their popularity and sale by this campaign. All you need to do is send an email to about 8 people and you will receive a Nokia N95.

However, if you send an email about this to 20 or more people, you will receive a Nokia E90.

Make sure you send a copy to nissar@mtn.co.za




Commentary:

©iStockphoto.com/Alberto Perez Veiga

Phone on Laptop
An email that claims that MTN is giving away free phones is a hoax
According to this email, South African communications company, MTN, is giving away free Nokia phones as part of a brand promotion. The message claims that, in order to get a free mobile phone, all recipients need to do is forward the email to 8 people to receive a Nokia N95 or forward it to 20 or more people to receive a Nokia E90.

However, the claims in the message are untrue. MTN has published the following message on its website denouncing the message as a hoax:
Dear Customer

MTN is aware of a fraudulent email being circulated via the internet which announces that MTN is giving away free handsets. This email is a hoax and has not been authorised by MTN South Africa.

All MTN promotions and competitions are checked and audited.

MTN apologises for any inconvenience that this hoax email promotion may have caused, and we would like to assure you of excellent service from MTN at all times.
In fact, the email is just an updated version of a widespread hoax that has been circulating for several years. As the following example shows, the MTN version is clearly derived from the original Nokia version that has been circulating since at least 2003:
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 anna.swelan@nokia.com
Yet another version of the hoax falsely claims that Sony Ericsson is the company handing out free phones in exchange for forwarding emails. All versions of the email are utter nonsense. Unknown pranksters have used the names of the targeted companies without their permission or involvement.

While MTN is quite clearly not responsible for the mutated version of the hoax that uses its name, at least one of the company's customers has apparently demanded that he receive a free phone even after learning that the "promotion" was a hoax. In reality, no legitimate company is ever likely to engage in a give-away promotion based on the uncontrolled and totally random forwarding of an email message.

These absurd giveaway hoax emails serve only to clutter our already junk-ridden inboxes with even more pointless information.



References:
Fraudulent email
Nokia Giveaway Hoax
Sony Ericsson Phone Giveaway Hoax
Customer demands a Nokia N95 from MTN after Hoax Email
Giveaway Hoaxes

Last updated: 26th February 2009
First published: 26th February 2009

Write-up by Brett M. Christensen

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