Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
HomeEnglishBEWARE! Multiple WhatsApp Messages Promising Free Recharge During The Lockdown Are Fake

BEWARE! Multiple WhatsApp Messages Promising Free Recharge During The Lockdown Are Fake

Claim

Multiple WhatsApp forward are doing the rounds promising free recharge, internet and data during the lockdown to deal with the same. 

The claim reads “A complete lockdown, coronavirus outbreak, and free internet, while the first two are unexpected and uncontrollable, the third comes as a hope in the distressing time caused by the first two.” 

Forward 1: Jio इस कठिन परिस्थिति में दे रहा है सभी इंडियन यूजर को ₹498 रूपए का फ्री रिचार्ज. तो अभी नीचे दी गई लिंक पर क्लिक करके अपना फ़्री रीचार्ज प्राप्त करें https://jiofree.online

कृपया ध्यान दे:  यह ऑफर केवल 31 MARCH तक ही सिमित है!

Forward 2: To counter the Corona virus we offer you 1000GB of free internet connection to stay at home safely and enjoy the internet Activate the internet package www.internet-covid19.com

Forward 3: अपने मोबाइल को रिचार्ज न करें नरेंद्र मोदी 400 रुपये के रूप में दे रहे हैं। अपने प्रोजेक्ट (स्मार्ट सिटी) के लिए शानदार सफलता के लिए। इस मैसेज को 13 लोगों को भेजें और पांच मिनट के बाद अपना बैलेंस चेक करें।

 वोडाफोन * 111 * 6 * 2 #।

 एयरटेल * 121 * 2 #।

 आइडिया * 123 * 10 #।

 एयरसेल * 165 * 6 * 1 #।

 Jio -1991।

 मैं भी हैरान हूं

 पर यही सच है

Verification

When these claims were first sent to our WhatsApp number for fact-checking, we prioritized claims related to potential cures and precaution measures as they were more likely to spread and cause harm. 

Forward 1

The first forward claims that the Indian telecom company Reliance Jio is offering a recharge of Rs 498 for free. As per the forward, to avail of the said benefits, one has to click on the link “https://jiofree.online”.

As we began fact-checking this claim, we found that the webpage that opens after clicking on the given link isn’t the official page of Reliance Jio. The webpage that opens has a picture of Mukesh Ambani, seemingly created for phishing purposes. 

We also noticed several grammatical errors in the content, for instance:

  1. A message that keeps moving from right to left has no full stop.
  2. यह ऑफर सिर्फ 31 MARCH 2020 तक ही उपलब्ध है इसलिए अभी निचे फॉर्म भर कर फ्री में 498 रुपये का रिचार्ज प्राप्त करे. अभी तक 1631702 JIO यूजर ने यह ऑफर का लाभ ले लिया है.Here the text highlighted in the red color is wrong.
  3. The website clearly mentions that it is not endorsed by Jio. The warning message reads, “We are not endorsed with Jio and doesn’t store any user data.”
  4. Again the sentence is not grammatically correct and contains error(s).

When we proceeded further to submit the details asked on the website, the input also took dummy data without validation. (For example, see the screengrab below)

After submitting the dummy data, a new page opened that read “To avail the free data you have to advertise Jio and in order to do so you should click on the green button so it can be shared on WhatsApp. You can share this with 5 WhatsApp contacts or in 5 WhatsApp groups and as soon as you do this, as promised, free recharge of Rs 498 will be initiated on your number.” 

Ironically the website claimed to recharge a number (In this case 123456789000000000000) that is not registered with Jio or any other telecom company.

As it is evident from the details cited above that the website is fake, below is a screengrab of the official website of Reliance Jio.

It is noteworthy that as per the Who.is data of the website, the website was created on March 24, 2020, and as per the official updates by the telecom giant Reliance Jio, they haven’t launched any website on March 24, 2020.

Hence it is imperative from the above-mentioned findings that the website is fake and is created for the sole purpose of phishing.

Result: Fake

Forward 2

The second WhatsApp forward reads, “To counter the Coronavirus we offer you 1000GB of free internet connection to stay at home safely and enjoy the internet Activate the internet package www.internet-covid19.com

We clicked on the link in the second forward and it again asked us certain questions related to the Covid19. It is noteworthy that the questions were asked to give the website an authentic feel as asking for your number or asking you to share something on WhatsApp directly can alert a user and it is highly likely that many will not fall for it. 

After answering the questions, similar to the viral link in the first WhatsApp forward, it too asked us to share the link on WhatsApp. Notably, this is a usual practice by phishers.

As per the who.is data of the website, similar to the link mentioned in the first forward, this website is also newly created. The who.is data of the website informs that the website was created as early as on March 23, 2020.

Hence it is proved from our findings that the second WhatsApp forward is also being circulated for phishing purposes only.

Result: Fake

Forward 3

The third WhatsApp forward doesn’t contain any link but claims if the viral forward is shared with 13 WhatsApp contacts, a recharge amount of Rs 400 will be credited to the number from which it is being shared. The viral forward claims that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is giving this on the success of the smart cities project.

The viral forward reads, “अपने मोबाइल को रिचार्ज न करें नरेंद्र मोदी 400 रुपये के रूप में दे रहे हैं। अपने प्रोजेक्ट (स्मार्ट सिटी) के लिए शानदार सफलता के लिए। इस मैसेज को 13 लोगों को भेजें और पांच मिनट के बाद अपना बैलेंस चेक करें।

 वोडाफोन * 111 * 6 * 2 #।

 एयरटेल * 121 * 2 #।

 आइडिया * 123 * 10 #।

 एयरसेल * 165 * 6 * 1 #।

 Jio -1991।

 मैं भी हैरान हूं

 पर यही सच है”

As we know, this is a popular phishing technique and often practiced by phishers across the globe. We checked the Twitter handle of the Prime Minister, his personal Twitter handle, his personal website, the official website of Prime Minister’s office, his Instagram profile and his Facebook page, we found no mention of any such announcement.

Hence it is evident that the third WhatsApp forward is also fake and is created for the sole purpose of phishing.

Result: Fake

Sources

  • Google Search
  • who.is 

(If you would like us to fact check a claim, give feedback or lodge a complaint, WhatsApp us at 9999499044. You can also visit the Contact Us page and fill the form)

Saurabh Pandey
The reason why he chose to be a part of the Newschecker team lies somewhere between his passion and desire to surface the truth. The inception of social networking sites, misleading information, and tilted facts worry him. So, here he is ready to debunk any such fake story or rumor.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular