About that offer for a free gift card to Wal-Mart...

About that offer for a free gift card to Wal-Mart... »Play Video
A new e-mail flooding the Internet offering a $1,000 Wal-Mart gift card.

Is it a scam, a hoax or something in between?

I must have received two dozen e-mails in just the week or so, telling me I've been "chosen to receive a $1,000 Wal-Mart shopping card."

I finally clicked on some of the links, and here's why I'm telling my followers on Twitter to just delete the e-mail. If you look closely at the home page, you'll see there's a catch, and it's a biggie.

It reads: "Participation required. Check for details."

First, you have to provide information: your name, address, e-mail address, birth date.

And you have to follow the official rules: to qualify for that $1,000 gift card, you have to register, answer a special survey, and participate in 13 so-called "sponsor offers."

What does that mean?

According to a sample list on the site, it means taking out memberships and subscriptions to different companies such as Netflix, Blockbuster, coffee and wine clubs. The sample list includes insurance companies, credit cards, and travel memberships.

For virtually all of the sponsor offers, you have to pay. Trial memberships lead to required payment for things like $19.95 DVDs, $27 magazine subscriptions, and nearly $60 a month for weight loss supplements. In some cases, you're asked to take out a loan.

And remember, you have to participate in 13 different offers.

Then, after you've spent all that money and verified your participation, you have to follow more instructions before the deadline.

As the fine print point out, "you must meet eligibility requirements, complete the rewards bonus survey, complete a total of 13 sponsor officers as stated in the Gift rules, and follow redemption instructions."

After that, you're supposed to get that $1000 gift card to Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart by they way, has nothing to do with this offer. The fine print also states that the company is not affiliated with Wal-Mart or any of the merchants or brands listed on the site.

What's more, signing up to participate also means you're agreeing to be contacted by other merchants for telemarketing pitches, even if you're signed up on the Do Not Call Registry.

I would not call it a scam, but I also wouldn't call it a good deal for consumers.