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WhatsApp Fake Message Claims Free Internet Access From Government for 3 Months, PIB Flags as Fraud

Press Information Bureau (PIB) has posted a short video on Twitter to detail the fake message and asked users to beware of the fraud.

WhatsApp Fake Message Claims Free Internet Access From Government for 3 Months, PIB Flags as Fraud

Photo Credit: Reuters

WhatsApp users are fraudulently asked to give their details for free Internet access

Highlights
  • WhatsApp message has been flagged fake by PIB
  • The message talks about free Internet access by the government
  • WhatsApp message carries a malicious link that could steal user data

A fake WhatsApp message is in circulation that claims the government is offering free Internet access to 100 million users for three months. The Press Information Bureau (PIB) has flagged the message as fraud and confirmed that no such announcement has been made by the government. The message also carries a link that could be used maliciously to trick users and steal their personal data. Users are advised to not pay attention to any such messages and inform their contacts about the scam.

PIB tweeted the details about the fake WhatsApp message on June 1, along with a short video highlighting the content of the message. The video shows that the message falsely tells users that the offer under which the government is giving free Internet access is available to Jio, Airtel, and Vi (Vodafone Idea) users until June 29. It also includes a fraudulent link that takes to a website asking personal details about users.

 

By giving details on any such websites may risk your personal data. The government has also advised users to not open suspicious links such as the one available in the message shown in the PIB video as those could allow fraudsters to maliciously harm users.

This is notably not the first time when a fake message has been in circulation through WhatsApp. In April, a message claiming to bring WhatsApp Pink spread over the instant messaging app that could have allowed attackers to obtain user data and access to the phones of affected users. The PIB also just last week informed about another fake message in which it was falsely claimed that WhatsApp would start showing red ticks to indicate government's control on the app.

WhatsApp has features including the ‘forwarded many times' label to restrict circulation of fake messages on its platform to some extent. The Facebook-owned company also provided tips about how its users could prevent the spread of rumours and fake news. However, despite those moves, several users are often being preyed upon by bad actors spreading fake information.


Does WhatsApp's new privacy policy spell the end for your privacy? We discussed this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.

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Jagmeet Singh writes about consumer technology for Gadgets 360, out of New Delhi. Jagmeet is a senior reporter for Gadgets 360, and has frequently written about apps, computer security, Internet services, and telecom developments. Jagmeet is available on Twitter at @JagmeetS13 or Email at jagmeets@ndtv.com. Please send in your leads and tips. More
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