A fake and viral message, circulating on WhatsApp and on social media, falsely states that the government is doling out ₹30,628 to combat inflation.
The preview link in the message reflects that of the official website of the Ministry of Finance (finmin.nic.in), but the website it redirects to is dubious and unrelated to the government.
Consumer prices are rising across the world, and India is no different, after prices in April rose 7.79%, the highest in eight years.
The message can be seen below. BOOM recieved it on its WhatsApp helpline (7700906588).
The URL seems like a link to an official government website - more specifically, that of the Ministry of Finance - when the message is received on WhatsApp.
The message can be seen on Twitter below.
However, upon clicking on the link, the user gets redirected to a website hosted on blogspot.
"After taking into consideration the financial crisis experienced by the Indian people, the Ministry of Finance decided to give every citizen an amount of ( Rs 30,628 ) to reduce the severity of the crisis", the page says, with a button asking to register.
The website reflects a Facebook post. Regardless of how many times the page is refreshed, the website will always show the following starting metric:
- 160,000 likes
- 40,000 shares
- 60,000 likes
The first comment will also always be the same, by one 'Arpita Ganguly', which will always have a same timestamp. Moreover, the comments will always be in the same order.
Then, the website asks the user to input their name. The name inputted does not matter, as the website will proceed with any two words. Then it asks to share the message to 15 persons on WhatsApp, and then shares a code to "claim this amount".
The ultimate page, that displays the page though, does not load. BOOM also found that this link redirects to two phishing websites.
Further, BOOM found no evidence that the government has announced a dole or cash handouts to tide over the recent spike in inflation. The Press Information Bureau has debunked it too.
BOOM has previously facthchecked spam websites relating to the Indian Express.