A fake website impersonating India's Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) promising 80,000 rupees to those who worked between the period 1990 and 2019, is being shared on social media.
The fake site was also called out by the EPFO's official Twitter handle -
@socialepfo which is not verified.
Beware of FAKE OFFERS by Websites/Telecalls/SMS/email/Social Media, ASKING TO DEPOSIT MONEY into any Bank Account towards Claim Settlement/Advance/Higher Pension/ or any other service provided by #EPFO.#Fraud #FakeCalls #Lottery pic.twitter.com/ekuvhcyJsq— EPFO (@socialepfo) October 29, 2019
The message, which links to the fake site - socialdraw.top/epf states the following.
"The workers who worked between the 1990 and 2019, have the rights to get the benefits of ₹80 000 by EPFO of INDIA. Check if your name is in the list of the people who have the rights to withdraw this benefit: https://socialdraw.top/epf"
The forward includes the EPFO's real website www.epfindia.gov.in to pull its logo and lend credibility to the message but redirects a user to the fake site - socialdraw.top/epf
1. Dodgy URL
The URL socialdraw.top/epf is a giveaway that the site is not genuine. Government websites in India end with the domain name .gov.in.
A Google search for EPFO's official website (EPFO official website) shows the right URL - https://www.epfindia.gov.in
2. Top Half Of The Site Is An Image
The top portion of the site 'socialdraw.top/epf' is actually an image and not clickable unlike the EPFO's actual website where one can click on various menu options. The image was uploaded to the fake site under the file name 'header'.
The bottom half of the site asks users to answer three questions which are as follows. The questions are replete with grammatical mistakes such 'did you worked.'
- Are you over 18 years old?
- Did you worked (sic) in one of periods between 1990 - 2019?
- Are you currently working somewhere?
3. Recently Created
A Whois look-up of the site shows it was recently created on October 15, 2019.
4. Similar scam in South Africa
The fake site uses eerily similar text on its site as scammers in South Africa. South Africa's Department of Labour had warned of the same in April this year. Click here to read the press release.
Like the Indian site the message in South Africa said, "The workers who worked between the 1990 and 2019, have the rights to get the benefits of $R30.000 by Department of Labour of South Africa” –
India's EPFO in recent days has been warning provident fund holders of potential frauds. In general, it asks PF holders to never provide their Universal Account Numbers (UAN), PAN or Aadhaar details to anyone over the phone.
It also states that the agency will never call subscribers asking them to deposit any amount in any bank account.