If you are a citizen of cyberspace, you would surely have an email address. And when you have one, there is no escaping the situation of receiving chain and hoax emails that are forwarded from your friends or acquaintances.
Forwarded emails are not spam; they are messages from well-meaning friends who feel that the item being forwarded would be of use to you. These messages can be humourous, inspirational or informative in nature. They arrive at the sender's inbox as a forwarded message from somewhere else. Most of these types of messages have been forwarded so many times that their origin is no longer known. Among such messages are hoax emails that have been propagated for such a long time as to reach urban legend status.
I have touched on this subject of forwarded emails before in an earlier post -> here. I do not mind receiving forwarded emails from friends because they generally contain jokes, motivational articles and other informative stuff. In fact, I continue to forward some of the good ones too. But I am quite dismayed when friends forward me hoax emails (especially relating to get-rich-quick schemes) without thinking twice about the content they are passing on.
Today I received an email that falls into the hoax category. It is the one that claims that Ericsson would give free laptops to anyone who would forward the promotional email to 8 other persons that they know. This hoax has been circulating for about two years now. While the original email was text-based, this latest one is a jpeg graphic that includes a picture of a sleek laptop.
Click on it to read the full text. Just make sure you are not one who continue the forwarding, okay?
It is easy to see that the mail is not genuine. Firstly, Ericsson does not make laptops. Secondly, the T18 model mentioned is actually a mobile phone. An obsolete model at that. Furthermore, Ericsson no longer manufactures phones on their own; they do it together with Sony. Hence we have Sony-Ericsson. A simple google check reveals a number of websites that confirm the hoax.
I've sent a message back to my friend saying that he's been duped. I included a link to a website -> urbanlegends.about.com., just in case he needs further convincing. I also suggested he send a similar response to the guy who forwarded the mail to him in the first place (as it happens, another mutual friend).
These friends are educated and professional people. And yet, they can be influenced into doing something so absurd because of the temptation of easy money, or in this case, a free laptop. No wonder hoax emails will continue to circulate cyberspace...