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Free Gap Certificates Hoax

Email claims that those who forward the message to others will be rewarded with free gift certificates from the Gap clothing retailer (Full commentary below.)


Example:(Submitted via email, January 2005)
Hi! My name is Janelle McCan, Founder of the Gap. I am offering thirty five dollar gift certificates to every seven people you send this to.

When you have finished sending this letter to as many people as you wish, a screen will come up It will tell you how much you Have earned in Gap gift certificates. Print that screen out and bring it to your local Gap store. The sales Clerk will give you your certificates and you can SHOP BABY!

This is a Sales promotion to get our name out to young people around the world. We believe this project can be a success, but with your help. Thank you for your support.


Janelle McCan
Founder of Gap

The long-running, and widely circulated message reproduced above promises free gift certificates from the Gap clothing company in return for forwarding the email. However, the company has denied any knowledge of such a promotion. According to a FAQ on the gap site:

Chain letters and other email hoaxes regarding any Gap, Banana Republic or Old Navy promotions are not legitimate. Please disregard any correspondence you've received promising free clothing or gift certificates. These messages were developed without the knowledge or approval of Gap Inc. We're sorry for any inconvenience to you as a result of unauthorized solicitations.

In any case, it is highly unlikely that a legitimate company would offer rewards based on how many times a person forwarded a particular email. Furthermore, the message makes the absurd claim that your computer will some how be able to tell when you have finished sending the email to "as many people as you wish" and produce a document that records the amount of certificates you have earned.

There are a number of other email hoaxes (including the infamous Money from Microsoft Giveaway Hoax) that claim a particular message is being tracked in some way. All such claims are pure nonsense.

The message falsely states that a certain "Janelle McCan" is the founder of the Gap. However, the About page of the company website reveals that the Gap was in fact founded by Donald and Doris Fisher.

There have been several versions of this hoax, some of which promise free clothing for forwarding emails rather than gift certificates.

Another example:

Abercrombie & Fitch have recently merged to form the largest hottie outfitter company in the world! In an effort to remain at pace with this giant, the GAP has introduced a new email tracking system to determine who has the most loyal followers. This email is a beta test of the new clothing line and GAP has generously offered to compensate those who participate in the testing process.

For each person you send this e-mail to, you will be given a pair of cargo pants. For every person they give it to, you will be given an additional Hawaiian print T-shirt, for every person they send it to, you will recieve a fishermans hat! GAP will tally all the emails produced under your name over a two week period and then email you with more instructions.

This beta test is only for Microsoft Windows users because the email tracking device that contacts GAP is embedded into the code of Windows 95 and 98. If you wish to speed up the "clothes receiving process" then you can email the GAP's P.R. rep for a free list of email addresses to try, at...."[email protected] (mailto:[email protected])" (this was forwarded to me, it's not me saying this...)

I know you guys hate forwards, but I started this a month ago because I was naked and couldn't get a date.

A week ago, I got an email from the GAP asking me for my address I gave it to them yesterday and I got a box load of mechandise in the mail from the GAP!!!!! It really works! I wanted you to get a piece of the action, you won't regret it!

Write-up by Brett M.Christensen