Paynesville — A link bearing the logo of the World Health Organization carries a message that calls on people to “Hurry up and get $500 W.H.O COVID-19 second wave money grant” has gone viral on messaging Apps. The message calls on the public not to miss “a great opportunity”. However, a thorough check into the authenticity of the message has proven otherwise.
Report By: Kelvin Varney Sirleaf & Grace Z. Gaie, Local Voices Liberia Fact Checkers
What Did We Find
The link begins with “http” instead of the regular “https” which is the first hint that casts some doubts over the credibility of the link. What is even more suspicious is that above the link, is a written message that reads: “get $500 federal government Covid-19 survival fund program” instead of mentioning the WHO.
It is important to take note of the “federal government” written in the link because in March of this year, a phishing text message made rounds on a number of social media sites in South Africa claiming that the country’s government was offering a R3 500 Covid-19 support grant to South Africans. This later turned out to be a hoax as stated by the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa).
What Makes the Link Fake
When one clicks on the link, it takes you to a site bearing the WHO logo with different images, but the URL of the site is filled with misspell words and it is totally different from the link.
Additionally, a further research done on the WHO website shows no information of the organization giving out survival fund.
The fact that the WhatsApp link takes you to a site that is totally different from what you earlier click on is enough to show that the link is not associated with WHO.
The misspell words in the URL of the site the link takes you is another hint that alerts anyone that it is absolutely different from the link.
This clearly suggests that the link is fake and we advise the public against opening or sharing it.
Incorrect, IMF is not Giving out Emergency Cash
Another WhatsApp message making round on social media via WhatsApp also claim that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is giving out emergency fund to those who click on the link. The message claims that the IMF will disbursed $150 per month for three months to people who participate in the process.
But when one clicks on the link, it takes you to a site containing “Regaio.club” in the URL that is different from the link. The new site the link takes you also provides a caution for readers that the site is dangerous and or not available.
To further authenticate the WhatsApp link, we copy the URL of the site the link took us and paste it in Yandex web search – a website used to authenticate sites. Yandex revealed a number of emergency loans which are completely unrelated to the purported IMF emergency fund link that is being shared.
We also search the IMF website to know whether it contains any information about emergency fund donation, but nowhere on the site did we find any information about an emergency fund that only requirement is by clicking on a link.
Based on research, the links that claiming to be from the World Bank and IMF and that they are giving out emergency loan for three months is false and only intended to deceive the public in an apparent means of surreptitiously soliciting your personal data. We are warning sthe public against opening and sharing these links as it might have a severe adverse effect.
You may contact us to fact check any claim or information relative to Liberia. Contact us on:
Factcheck.firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp: +231880986778