As coronavirus outbreak surges, PM Narendra Modi has decided to facilitate fellow countrymen with free masks under the ‘Swacch Bharat’ scheme. You can also order your free mask using the link below:
यह ऑफर सिर्फ 15 मार्च 2020 तक ही उपलब्ध है. अभी तक 104548 भारतीयों ने माक्स ले लिया है आप भी अपना फ्री माक्स लेकर सवच्छ भारत का हिंसा बनिए . User Rating4.1 average based on 16548 reviews. Prime Minister India Contact
One of our readers sent this claim to us for fact-checking on WhatsApp. As we all know the Indian Government has taken stern steps in order to fight the pandemic which is a global crisis as we write this report. The Indian representative of WHO to India recently lauded the government’s efforts in fighting coronavirus.
Now, a WhatsApp forward has gone viral in which it is claimed that the government is providing free masks to Indian nationals and with the viral forward, there is a link which redirects to a new tab and asks you to fill a form in order to avail the mask.
Now, if you observe the viral link, it appears to be a genuine link as the domain is .in which is the same as the Prime Minister’s personal website’s domain i.e www.narendramodi.in. But what seems malicious here is the content schema on the viral link and the formatting of the redirected page. For instance, ‘हिस्सा (Participation) is written as हिंसा (Violence)’ which is highly unlikely to be committed if the aforementioned website is indeed being operated by the Prime Minister’s Office or even by the officials of the health ministry. We also found that the spelling of ‘स्वच्छ भारत’ is wrong and written as ‘सवच्छ भारत’.
Now, as we dug deeper, we also learned that the social media profile links on the redirected page are not working which also is a blunder if the viral claim has to be taken seriously.
Now, we decided to fill the form in order to know the modus operandi of this malicious webpage. We intentionally filled dummy data as such in the column of address, we entered random combination of letters, symbols, and numbers and similarly, we filled the pin code section.
Now as we hit the submit button on the said webpage, we were redirected to a new webpage which shows an error message. The message reads, “Blog has been removed. Sorry, the blog at masksfeee.blogspot.com has been removed. This address is not available for new blogs. Did you expect to see your blog here? See: ‘I can’t find my blog on the web, where is it?’”
After filling the details and submitting the same as the new webpage opened, we found that the aforementioned website is a fraudulent website. Now, we visited the official website of the health ministry to check if one such scheme is being facilitated by the Indian Government. We found useful information related to coronavirus there but there is no mention of the free mask scheme on the official website of the Health Ministry.
Now, we searched the official website of Swacch Bharat Abhiyan and similar to the Health Ministry website, Swatch Bharat’s official website also carries no mention of the free mask scheme.
Hence it is evident that the government has not announced any such scheme under which it is aimed to provide free masks. The viral webpage may be a part of the decade-old phishing technique or it may be an attempt to collect the data. However, the intent behind creating this webpage is not yet clear but it is crystal clear that the webpage doesn’t belong to Indian govt and might be a venture of some fraudulent organization.
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