"There is simply no truth to the rumour that by forwarding the SMS on, customers will receive free SMS text messages," said Jansen van Nieuwenhuizen, Telstra group manager of personal messaging and emergency services. "Only a small number of customers have received this SMS hoax, but Telstra wants to dispel the myth before it spreads widely."
"Unfortunately, Telstra has no way of knowing who started the SMS hoax nor their motivation for sending it," said van Nieuwenhuizen.
Chain-SMS messages have been circulating in India for a while, and last year a psychiatrist raised the possibility they were started by the mobile carriers to increase revenue.
As mobile phones become more ubiquitous and are integrated more tightly into the lives of individuals these hoaxes are likely to become more common.