Free PC Does Not Compute
Date Added: Dec. 9, 2004
For many, the possibilities of e-mail seem practically endless. We can communicate with people on the other side of the world in seconds, we can send the same message to dozens of friends at the same time and we can send photos and movie clips to virtually anyone. So, it's tempting to believe that we can also earn free money and merchandise just by hitting the "forward" button. But, alas, all good things have their limits, and this one's limits are numerous.
Subject: Info: FREE COMPUTERS
Hewlett-Packard and Gateway have just merged to form the biggest computer supplier in the world! Bigger than Dell, bigger than IBM, bigger than them all! In response to this amazing merger, IBM has set aside 250,000 free computers to reward and keep its most loyal and trusted customers! I've already got mine, read on to see how you can get yours!!!
This email has a special encoding which will let IBM know every time you send it to one of your friends or relatives. The first 250,000 people who send this to at least 15 of their friends will receive a brand new IBM computer! After you send this to your friends, and qualify, IBM will contact you via email, and get your shipping address.
Send them your address, and in a couple of days, a brand new computer, complete with printer, and 19" monitor is sitting on your doorstep! You must hurry, because this offer ends July 31 of this year!
Here's the catch, though. Each of your friends must send this to at least 5 people or you won't be eligible, so choose your friends wisely! Remember, a true friend will send this along for you! That's all it takes, no strings attached! No purchase necessary!!! You don't even have to have previously purchased a computer from IBM! They want to earn or keep your future business, and they're willing to pay for it!!!
Take Care, and let's get some new computers!!!
This particular chain letter was one of the first "free stuff for fowarding" hoaxes to cash in on most people's ignorance of e-mail's limitations, and dates back to at least 2000.
Hewlett-Packard and Gateway have not merged, though HP did acquire PC competitor Compaq in late 2001, about a year after this chain letter started circulating. IBM announced in late 2004 that they would be getting out of the home PC business, selling their PC manufacturing operation to Hong Kong's Lenovo Group.
This message does not contain "special encoding" that will magically allow IBM to monitor what you do with the message. E-mail tracking, as it is described in this chain letter, is not possible or practical. Think about it: would you even want this to be true? The privacy and abuse implications alone are staggering!
In November, 2004, a newer version of this hoax surfaced, this time promising that your free PC would come from Dell.
Companies do not give stuff away just for sending e-mail. It's a nice thought, but it's just not true. Like many otehr "Something for Nothing" chains, this one is full of holes that become evident even under the lightest scruitiny:
So, you're really optimistic and want to send this one out "just in case?" Consider this: if it's not true, who benefits from you forwarding this to 15 people?
Who benefits from millions of copies of this message, each with at least 16 e-mail addresses attached to it, floating around and being posted to various message boards? Spammers and scammers. Participating in chain letters like this one greatly increase your exposure to other types of junk e-mail. Don't want the junk - Break this chain!