A viral message being shared on WhatsApp claims that amidst the global pandemic, mobile companies are giving their users free internet so as to make remote working more accessible and efficient. The message reads:
“Covid-19: सभी मोबाइल कंपनियो का एलान
कोरोना महामारी के कारण 03 मई 2020 तक लाॅकडाउन के वजह से मोबाइल कंपनियों नें सभी मोबाइल यूजर को फ्री इन्टरनेट देने का ऐलान किया है ताकि आप घर बैठे अपना काम कर सके।
कृपया घर में रहकर कोरोना वायरस (Covid-19) को फैलने से रोकें।
नोट:- नीचे दी गई लिंक पर क्लिक करके अपना फ़्री रीचार्ज प्राप्त करें
कृपया ध्यान दे: यह ऑफर केवल 03 मई 2020 तक ही सिमित है!”
The translation is as follows:
“Covid-19: all mobile companies announcement
Due to the coronavirus pandemic lockdown till May 3 2020, all mobile companies are giving their users free internet so that they can work from home.
Please stay at home and help stop the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19)
Note:- click the link given below to get your free recharge
Please note: this offer is only valid till 03 May 2020!”
*Covid-19: सभी मोबाइल कंपनियो का एलान*
*नोट:-* नीचे दी गई लिंक पर क्लिक करके अपना फ़्री रीचार्ज प्राप्त करें
— Dr. Bhavin Chavda (@DrBhavinChavda1) April 24, 2020
This is False and is a scam to collect your mobile number to be sold to TeleMarketers and install malwares on your phone to collect other personal data.
A further understanding of the website and filling in roughly the details required, a page opens that requests the user to forward the said link to other WhatsApp groups. The recharge only succeeds if the site link has been forwarded to ten other groups.
According to the usual scam methodology, this also is asking you to share this in 10 WhatsApp groups
A further look into the domain information shows the following:
These are WhatsApp scams i.e. the only medium these spread on and use is WhatsApp medium.
These scams earns from two methods
1. Since offers doesn’t ask people to pay up, being free, they think of giving it a try so they fill the form, submit and share in other WhatsApp groups as this scam asks. Further in other groups, others also give it a try which results in lakhs of registration on the site.
So the owner of website gets a database of lakhs of mobile numbers which he\she can sell for tele-marketing and you start receiving such calls e.g. Isurance, Finance, Loans etc.
2. Advertisement (Banner) on their page which gets lakhs of visits in short period through which also owner of the page/site earns a lot.
What can you do ?
Following are the points to recognise these scams
1. The URL/website is never official or simple. Government websites end by “.gov”. Many offers come in the name of online shopping platforms like Amazon, Flipkart or brands like Nike, Xiaomi etc, but none have links to their official websites and has long complicated URLs with many characters.
2. After filling out your information and submitting, these sites ask you to share in 8-10 other WhatsApp groups
3. These have advertisements banners on their page
4. Either they do not have links to other pages or sites or doesn’t work for e.g. About Us, Privacy etc.
5. Looking closely results in many spelling errors or grammatical errors.
6. They look alike i.e. vertical in both mode i.e. mobile and desktop
Previous such Scams debunked –
- Is the video titled, “Amit Shah disowns Modi” being circulated on WhatsApp, a mobile-formatting virus? - June 7, 2020
- Was the White House stormed in by protestors amidst the death of African-American George Floyd? - June 4, 2020
- Video of a man made to lick spit in Surat shared with a communal angle - June 1, 2020