Fake news tends to travel very fast on WhatsApp, and so do fake offers. The latest viral message claims to offer free gifts for all Amazon users as part of the e-commerce giant’s 30th anniversary. It also has a link, where Amazon is spelt incorrectly. We’ve also reached out to Amazon for a statement. The message appears to have gone viral on WhatsApp and is being shared across groups.
When we clicked on the link, it takes us to a survey, which even has the Amazon logo on it and can fool a lot of people. After filling the survey you then have to choose a box from a set of nine, and one has a present. The link then says that in order to claim the prize, the user needs to forward the link to 5 groups or 20 friends on WhatsApp.
This is not the first viral message on WhatsApp which claims to offer free gifts from a brand, when it is far from the truth. Previously, we seen viral messages offering free Thermo Flask from Starbucks, free gifts from Adidas, tickets from airlines, etc. Such messages usually contain a link where the name of the brand is spelt incorrectly. Here’s how users can avoid such messages.
How to avoid such fake, scam messages:
Look at the link in the message and see if the name of the brand is spelt correctly. For instance, in this Amazon message, the name in the url is spelt as “amazsocn,” which is incorrect.
Further, WhatsApp tends to label messages which are forwarded many times and if it has this label on top, you know this is one to avoid.
Another factor to note in these fake URLs is that they typically read http and not HTTPS in the beginning. The ‘S’ in the url is important, because it indicates secure. Phishing links, scam websites usually do not rely on secure protocol.
If the deals being offered are too good to be true, then it is likely fake. For instance, Amazon is unlikely to offer everyone free gifts as part of its anniversary celebrations, especially gifts such as expensive phones. More importantly, even if Amazon is offering free gifts, it will advertise this on the website, and not via WhatsApp. Remember, no brand will give away free phones via WhatsApp nor will Starbucks give free flasks.
Keep in mind that some of these links might try and trick you into share personal information such as credit or debit card details, your address, etc and you should avoid clicking on them.
WhatsApp tips: Tips to identify fake messages:
WhatsApp recently introduced several new features to control the spread of information on its platform. Today, we will discuss all of them and provide some tips to identify false messages.
Social media can be both good and bad. All sorts of content circulate across platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, TikTok and it’s up to the users what they wish to believe and what they don’t. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the spread of misinformation spiked and that led these platforms to bring features that can prevent the circulation of unverified information. The government of India has been warning people to not believe information that isn’t verified.
Understand when a message is forwarded:
Messages with the “Forwarded” label help you determine if your friend or relative wrote the message or if it originally came from someone else. When a message is forwarded from one user to another more than five times, it’s indicated with a double arrow icon, highlighting the message to be a “frequently forwarded message”. If you’re not sure who wrote the original message, double-check the facts with trusted news sources.
Finally, if someone does forward a message about deals or offers, it is best to go to the official website and confirm. And if you find it is fake, do inform the person who shared the link about the same.