A viral message on WhatsApp claims that the government is giving a ‘free’ relief fund of Rs 5,000 to each citizen amid the coronavirus lockdown. The government, however, has not made any such announcement and the link mentioned in the viral message is also dubious.
The viral message reads: “FG (federal government) has finally approved and have started giving out free Rs. 5,000 relief funds to each citizen. Below is how to claim and get yours credit Instantly as I have just did now https://bit.ly/free---funds. Note: You can only claim and get credited once and it’s also limited so get your now instantly.(sic)”
Several social media users have shared the message on Twitter.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
The viral message mentions a link https://bit.ly/free---funds where people can claim the money. But first, let’s see how authentic is this link.
The URL is a shortened version of http://fund.ramaphosafoundations.com/. We found that there is a foundation called Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation which is based out of South Africa. However, this is not the official URL of this organisation.
Secondly, on clicking the link, it asks three questions: are you a bonafide Indian citizen, how much can sustain you throughout the lockdown, what will you use your free Rs 5,000 for.
No matter which option you select as answer to the aforementioned questions, the link directs you to a confirmation page saying that you are eligible to claim free Rs 5,000 lockdown funds.
Further, the URL asks the users to share it in seven WhatsApp groups and then the users will be asked to share their account number and name of the bank.
The webpage also shows a screenshot of Facebook comments with users stating their accounts really got credited with the money. It is noteworthy that no matter how many times you end up on the webpage, the comments and the time stamp saying ‘just now’ remain the same.
Even the number of likes ie 2,04,208 and total number of comments ie 1,73,330 remain constant.
Other hints such as the URL always shows ‘1,936 free lockdown packages left’ suggest that it is a dubious link.
VIRAL NOT ONLY IN INDIA
We found that Facebook users had shared similar claim with another link which is similar to the viral link in terms of the questions asked and the layout, however, it is Nigeria centric.
The link asks the users if they are a citizens of Nigeria and the money that will be credited into the account in mentioned in Nigerian currency.
Evidently, a dubious link is doing the round on social media falsely claiming that the government has approved Rs 5,000 lockdown funds to citizens.
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