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Free Car from Honda!

By David Emery

Netlore Archive: Viral email claims Honda is giving away free automobiles to everyone who forwards the message.

Description: Email hoax
Circulating since: Sep. 1999
Status: False (see details below)

Email text contributed by A. Wagner, Sep. 24, 1999:

Subject: FW: New Wheels!
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 1999 08:36:02 -0500

Worth a shot...
First off, I just want everyone to know that this is the real thing. I forwarded this message to everyone I know about 6 months ago and last week a Honda employee showed up at my house with my brand new 1999 Civic EX!!! It is so funny because I never believed these things worked and actually I sent this one as a joke to all my friends. But they forwarded the message too and now I have received a new car!!!

My best friend actually hasn't gotten his car just yet but he checked the balance of his Honda Account and it has reached nearly $11,000!!! If you like Honda's or you just want a new car, please forward this message it is the real thing.

Bob Stanley, Denver Colorado


Look I know this sounds too good to be true, and that's what I thought too. But I called Honda's headquarters in Japan and spoke to an American representative myself and it really is true! They assured me that this the real thing! I still wasn't convinced but I called three weeks later and my Honda account balance has reached the unbelievable sum of $12,500!!! So even if you don't believe this, forward it anyway so my account will continue to grow until I get my brand new Prelude!!!

Steve Kelly, Minneapolis Minnessota

Dear valued potential customers:

Here at Honda we have been well known for over 20 years for providing the best in reliabillity, comfort, and style. Over the years we have risen to be one of the top auto industries here in Japan. But that isn't enough. We want to be number one in the US. Now our twentieth anniversary for making cars is here!!! This is the perfect opportunity for you and us here at Honda to celebrate our 20 years of excellent service. We have been trying to think of ideas to get more people to know about our cars. And with technology and e-mail being the wave of the future, we want to jump on this opportunity. So we have set up a rewards system to repay those who help us spread the word about Honda. Our marketing staff has designed a special program that traces this message as it travels across the US. Anyone who forwards this e-mail, will immediately have an account at their local Honda dealer opened in their name. This account will initially be opened with a credit of $1,000 toward any new or used vehicle at their participating dealership. For each person you forward this e-mail to, the amount of $200 will be added to your account. If the recipients of this e-mail forward it you will be rewarded an additional $100 for each person it reaches and if they also forward it your account continues to grow in $100 increments. You can log onto our website at http://www.Honda.com to check the balance of your account. If things go well and everyone participates you should see your account grow quite quickly. Follow the on screen instructions to order the specific make and model of Honda you want to buy with your account. We hope that this is a rewarding experience for you and us. Our goal is to reach over 1 million computers by the year 2000.

I thank you for your time and business.

Kageyama Hironobu
Senior Honda Marketing Advisor

Analysis: You won't find any information about a car giveaway at http://www.honda.com, because no such offer exists. What you will find is a disavowal from Honda's corporate headquarters.

The car company's marketing staff cannot trace your email forwards, nor would they want to. Even if email tracking on the scale proposed here were technically feasible, the cost of it would be enormous. Nor, assuming one million people did participate, could Honda possibly afford to give away the billions of dollars worth of new cars required to fulfill the email's promises.

This is a hoax, just like the "Free" M&M's, "Free" Miller Beer, and a dozen other chain letters that preceded it.

Think before you forward!

Helpful links:

Further Adventures in Email Tracking
From August 1998: a survey of "email tracking" chain letters on the Internet

Varieties of Netlore: Chain Email
Chain letters haven't changed much over the past 100 years, but since the advent of email they're easier than ever to replicate.

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