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Beware! WhatsApp message of PM Narendra Modi offering free Rs 500 recharge is a hoax


21 Jun 2013
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After the Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the big demonetization announcement, there have been a hoard of rumors about the new policy, widely circulated through social media. While the government has been trying its best to prevent misconceptions and wrong information from spreading, cyber criminals are taking advantage of this situation by tricking people into clicking malicious links. Some of such messages and links are aimed to steal personal details of users as well. One such hoax making rounds right now, is a message on WhatsApp claiming that the Prime Minister is offering a free Rs 500 recharge to all Indians.
The message reads, “Rs 500 balance for every Indians. Reforming India. Modiji giving free balance. Click here.” The words ‘click here’ are followed by a link to a new webpage, which once tapped on, asks a user to share their personal details like, their contact number, operator name and the state they live in. When a user fills these details up, a dialog box with recharge amount of Rs 500 written on it is placed below on the page.

Quite obviously, no balance is actually transferred to a user’s account, but you just end up sharing your personal details, with a spammer, which can be used against you in many ways. In addition to that, the spam message asks users to “invite those who are in troubles, you need to invite at least 15 friends or groups to tell about Rs 500 balance.”

It is highly advised, that if any user receives such a message, they should immediately delete it so that even by mistake they don’t end up tapping on this like, and forwarding it their contacts. Such malicious links not only can affect your device, but may also seep into your phone and steal data. This WhatsApp hoax message was spotted by India Today.

WhatsApp hoax messages aren’t really a new thing. Just some days ago, shortly after WhatsApp revealed its video calling feature on Android and iOS, spammers begun to circulate a link WhatsApp that claimed to be an invitation to activate the video calling feature on the app. The spam message read, “You’re invited to try WhatsApp Video Calling feature.” Along with the link, it said, “Only people with the invitation can enable this feature.”

And when users tapped on the link, it took them to a website that claimed to have the link for activating the video calling service. Unlikes the webpage of the hoax reported today, which is a bit sketchy looking, the website of the video calling hoax had been crafted in such a way that it looked quite believable. The website also said that this feature was available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry.

The spammers had gone up to the extent of posting screenshots of the video call feature, which again looked quite believable. Not only did the screenshots show an ongoing video call between two people, it also showed an ongoing group video call. Scrolling down below the page, one could see information about group video calling. It said that the video calling feature can be used for groups as well, with participants up to five people.

However, after going through this ‘believable’ website and all the authentic looking information, the webpage ultimately asked users to share the link to multiple people to activate the feature, which is a clear indication of a hoax.

Therefore, be sure, any circulating links that you receive on your WhatsApp messages, in fact on any social media, that asks you to click on links and share the link with people, is almost always a hoax. Unless there is an update coming in from the official websites of a platform, never fall for any shared link, how much ever tempting it sounds!

Beware! WhatsApp message of PM Narendra Modi offering free Rs 500 recharge is a hoax
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