A message is making rounds on WhatsApp and social media platforms that the government of India has issued Rs.1,30,000 to every citizen above the age of 18. Further, the message has a URL where people can check their eligibility.
Claim: A message circulating on #WhatsApp claims that the Government has ordered payment of ₹130,000 as #Covid funding to all citizens above the age of 18.#PIBFactCheck: The claim is #Fake. No such announcement has been made by the Government. pic.twitter.com/NF8dH08wLW— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) November 24, 2020
According to the Press Bureau of India, the message is fake. The government has not passed any such order. Since Covid-19 started to spread across the world, there had been a spike in scams related to Covid-19.
The message shows the URL http://covid19.google.fund/, but at present there is no webpage with this web address.
Scams related to Covid-19 are on the rise
Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (Cert-In) have issued several advisories warning people about scams related to coronavirus. Some of the most common scams Cert-In noticed were promotional codes, Covid-19 maps, phishing emails from trusted organizations and more.
According to World Health Organization, “Hackers and cyber scammers are taking advantage of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic by sending fraudulent email and WhatsApp messages that attempt to trick you into clicking on malicious links or opening attachments.”
Google has issued an advisory related to such scams. It read, “Recently, there has been a significant rise in online scams related to COVID‑19. We’re providing these tips to help you spot and avoid these scams, so you can stay safer online.” On the safety guidelines page, the tech giant has provided a list of common scams such as stealing personal data, fake offers, impersonation of authorities, fraudulent medical offers and more.
Best practices and recommendations
Check the email address: If you have received an email from an unknown person or an organization out of the blue asking for donations or providing support at the time of the pandemic, make sure to check the email address. The name showed, and the email ID from which the email was sent is not always the same. It is better to check if the email came from the source it claimed.
Check the link before you click: Before you click on any link, make sure to check it. Do not click on a shortened link from an unknown source. Most of the links coming from a valid source are not shortened. If you have even a slight doubt, do not click on the link. You can always visit the website of the organization and check the advisory etc.
Do not click on links in emails from banks: One of the most common methods of stealing credentials is via phishing emails. If you have received an email claiming to be from your bank, it is better to go to the bank’s website and log in from there.
Do not provide personal information: If you have received an email asking your details so that they can provide support in any way, make sure not to send any details. If you are in genuine need of help or support, please approach government authorities directly.
In case you have provided sensitive information already, please do not panic. Change your passwords immediately and inform the local police station as soon as possible. Make sure not to authorize any payment and lock all your debit and credit cards. You can file an online complaint on cybercrime.gov.in.
Covid-19 in India
From the last few days, India has been registering less than 50,000 cases per day. As of now, India has reported 92,22,216 cases of coronavirus. 4,44,746 are active, 86,42,771 have been discharged, and 1,34,699 people have lost their lives to the complications associated with the infection.