WhatsApp is India’s favourite destination for sharing unverified messages, often accompanied with phishing links and the latest one claims Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to give everyone in the country ‘Rs 500 balance’ free for their mobile phones. This viral message is being widely circulated on WhatsApp groups across the country and we also got the forward in one such group.
However, we’d like to warn you not to believe in these scams. The message is accompanied with a link to a website and there’s a good chance this is a phishing website with someone trying to get access to your personal details.
Clicking on the link will take you to a page with URL ‘http://balance.modi-gov.in/’. For starters the fact that the url ends with modi-gov.in should ring alarm bells. All official government websites have .gov.in in url; the PM’s surname is not part of this.
Next this particular website has ‘Rs 500’ written in a big font with logos of almost all major telecom companies such as Idea, Airtel, Vodafone, BSNL, Reliance, Aircel etc surrounding it. Below it the message says, ‘Desh Badal Raha hai’ written in Hindi.
Then the page asks you to enter your mobile number, operator and state. Next, it asks you to enter the recharge amount and click on ‘Recharge Now’. The page also has a live banner on top and at the bottom displays successful recharge, in order to fool users that it is authentic.
Terms & Conditions can be seen at the bottom of the page in an extremely small text size. It reads, “We are not connected to any telecom company.” The link even has a grammatical error as it reads, “Rs 500 Balance For Every Indians.”
Recently, a similar malicious link asking users to download group video calling on WhatsApp went viral. Clicking on the URL would take users to a WhatsApp look-alike website. The site also put out screenshots of video-calling feature to fool users.
WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps in India with over 160 million monthly active users (MAUs) in the country. So it is not surprising that messages go viral here. But for now, hackers and cyber-criminals have it easy as they are able to convince users to click on fake links, and forward messages that are not verified.