Mobile phone manufacturer Ericsson has been hit with a fake chain letter claiming it is giving away free mobile phones.
The letter, which Ericsson officials say first began appearing at the start of the month, offers people the chance of receiving a free Ericsson T18 mobile phone or R320 WAP-phone.
In order to be eligible for the free phones, people must forward the chain letter to eight or 20 friends to receive the T18 or WAP-phone, respectively, the chain mail says.
According to Ericsson officials, the Ericsson representative who signed the letter, Anna Swelund, executive promotions manager for Ericsson marketing, does not exist.
"Ericsson is not giving away free phones. The chain letter you have received is a fraud and there is no person with the name of Anna Swelund working at Ericsson," an official company statement said. "At Ericsson we are constantly looking at new innovative ways to market ourselves, chain emails are not one of them."
Recipients of the letter are asked not to forward it any further.
According to Peter Bodor, Ericsson's worldwide PR manager for consumer segment product, Ericsson is usually hit with hoax chain letters "several times a year".
"Chain letters by email are an extremely effective way of spreading what can often be false information. It is nearly always impossible to track its origin," he said. "We have no specific strategy for combating chain letters."
Information quoted in the chain letter claiming that Nokia is also giving away free mobile phones is false as well. Other organisations, including the Make-a-Wish foundation, have also been hit with hoax chain letters and emails in the past.