A text message is being circulated that claims that the person receiving the message is eligible to receiving Rs.70,000 under ‘PM Pension Yojana 2020’. As informed by the government, the claim is fake. The government is not running any such scheme.
Claim: A text message is being circulated with a claim to confirm eligibility for Rs. 70,000 under ‘PM Pension Yojana 2020’.#PIBFactCheck: This message is #Fake. Central Government is not running any such scheme. pic.twitter.com/zoomb1cNDO— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) December 13, 2020
The message content
The message reads, “Congrats!! Your Eligibility Confirmed for Rs.70K PM Pension Yojna 2020 with Ref:PMXX689 *T&C Apply. Verify your details,” followed by a link. We checked the link mentioned in the message. It is currently blank. When we checked the WhoIs record of the domain td1.in, it was registered in May 2020, raising the suspicion that the domain was registered to scam people.
Further, the domain td1.in redirects to a parking page, and it does not indicate that it is in any way associated with the Government of India. On several occasions, the government has issued advisories for the citizens to stay vigilant while clicking on any link in the messages.
Online scams have increased during the Covid-19 pandemic
According to experts and the government’s notifications, online scams have significantly increased during the Covid-19 pandemic. A similar scam was reported in November as well. Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (Cert-In) has issued advisories in the last few months to warn people about coronavirus scams. According to Cert-In, some of the most common scams were promotional codes, Covid-19 maps, phishing emails from trusted organizations, and more.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hackers and cyber scammers are taking advantage of the pandemic. It said, “By sending fraudulent email and WhatsApp messages [they] attempt to trick you into clicking on malicious links or opening attachments.”
Google also 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, Google provided a list of common scams such as stealing personal data, fake offers, impersonation of authorities, fraudulent medical offers, and more.
What to do when you receive a suspicious message?
Here are the tips you could follow to keep yourself safe online.
- First of all, make sure not to click on any link in the messages or WhatsApp or any other social media platform unless you are sure that the link is genuine.
- Avoid clicking on any message that has been shortened or has a random alphanumeric address like the one in the message above.
- Do not forward or re-share the message with anyone.
- Make sure to check the authentic source for the schemes being run by the government. Any website under the Government of India will have a gov.in TLD or extension in simple words. If the domain name looks suspicious, it is better not to click on the link.
- Do not fill in your details in any form without confirming the source. Make sure not to share your personal identification markers such as PAN Card, Aadhaar number, etc., with anyone.
- The same set of instructions goes for the messages related to banking. Unless you are sure that the message or email is from your bank, please do not click on any link in it.