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Free Starlight Cruise For Forwarding Hoax

Outline
Email claims that you can enter a competition to win a four night cruise for two people from South Africa's Starlight Cruises simply by forwarding the message to ten people.



Brief Analysis
This message is a hoax. Starlight Cruises is not running a competition like the one described in the hoax message. The email does not originate with Starlight Cruises. The company has publicly denied any involvement with the bogus competition described in the email. The message may be an attempt to collect email addresses for spamming or scamming purposes.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.



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Last updated: 9th June 2010
First published: 9th June 2010
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
Subject: FW: Win a 4 night cruise for 2 people

To enter forward this e-mail to 10 of your friends and cc starlight062@gmail.com . For every 10 friends you mail you have 1 entry --just remember to cc starlight062@gmail.com every time.

The value of this voyage is R12,140.00 and includes rooming for two in a Superior Oceanview berth, plus all meals, drinks and entertainment.

Starlight Cruises is the general sales agent for MSC Cruises, in South Africa , and is South Africa 's only operator of regular cruises from and around the South African coastline!

MSC Cruises South Africa announced today that they will be operating the MSC Sinfonia and the MSC Melody simultaneously out of local ports during the upcoming 2010/11 summer to meet increased market demand and offer variety to the South African cruise market.

NOT VALID FOR EXISTING BOOKINGS AND CANNOT BE USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH OFFERS AND DISCOUNTS ALREADY GIVEN. Valid only on presentation of this voucher and if reserved directly with

STARLIGHT CRUISES



Detailed Analysis

©iStockphoto.com/ james steidl

Cruise Ship
Don't be fooled by messages that claim that you can win a cruise, air travel or other prizes just for forwarding an email
This email forward claims that the recipient can win a four night cruise for two people valued at R12,140.00 just by sending on the message to ten other people. The message claims that the recipient will be given one entry in the prize for every ten people the message is sent to. The message purports to be from South African based cruise agents Starlight Cruises. It requests that the message should be copied to a specified email address (starlight062@gmail.com) when ever it is sent on to the required ten recipients.

However, the message is not from Starlight Cruises and the supposed prize does not exist. Starlight Cruises has published the following notice on its website denying any involvement with the bogus competition:
Warning Spam Alert: An e-mail is currently in circulation offering a prize of a 4 night cruise for 2 people. The recipient is required to forward the e-mail to 10 friends as well as to copy this back to starlight062@gmail.com. These e-mails which are purported to have been generated by Starlight Cruises are in fact NOT and are a scam. Please do not respond to these e-mails
One indication that the supposed competition is bogus is that it uses a free Gmail account rather than a email address reflecting Starlight's own website domain name. No legitimate company is likely to use a free webmail account for such purposes. Another indication is that the message does not include any relevant terms and conditions pertaining to the supposed competition. Genuine competitions will always include precise information that outlines terms such as competition start and finish dates, the date of the prize draw and conditions of entry.

In fact, no legitimate company is ever likely to participate in a promotional draw based on how many times a particular email is sent to others. This tactic has been used many times in the past by Internet pranksters and spammers. Often such hoax emails make the absurd claim that the journey of the email is being tracked in some way in order to ascertain what prize or benefit the sender should receive. In this case, the message instructs the recipient to "CC" (carbon-copy) the forwarded email to the specified Gmail account, whenever it is sent to ten recipients, ostensibly so the "entry" can be added to the prize draw.

While some other versions of such "forward for prize" messages are nothing more than pointless hoaxes, this one may have a more sinister purpose. Those who fall for the ruse and send on the message may inadvertently be supplying the email address - along with the email addresses of their ten friends - to spammers when they CC the message to the specified Gmail account. A scammer or spammer could quitequickly accumulate a large number of valuable active email addresses by using such a method. The Gmail account included in the hoax message was still active at the time of writing. An email sent to that address enquiring as to the motivation for sending the bogus prize messages has - not surprisingly - received no reply.

Internet users should be very cautious of any message that claims that they can win a prize or receive cash, vouchers or products in exchange for forwarding an email. All such claims are virtually certain to be bogus.

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References
Starlight Cruises
Giveaway Hoaxes


Last updated: 9th June 2010
First published: 9th June 2010
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer

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