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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.