Is This Site Claiming That the Government Is Offering a COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund Genuine?

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#COVID19

By Simon Muli

This website claims that an unidentified government is running a COVID-19 emergency relief fund.

Clicking on the link to the website opens a page titled “COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund Phase 4 Grants”. The page, however, does not indicate which government is offering the said relief fund.

Below the title is a congratulatory message with instructions on how to receive the relief fund. The instructions require users to answer three questions: their age bracket, the amount they want to receive, and their employment status.

After answering the questions, a new message pops up, informing the user that they are qualified to receive the fund. However, in order to receive the ‘withdrawal code’, the user is required to forward the information about the relief fund to 15 friends or five WhatsApp groups.

Verification

A disclaimer at the bottom of the message states that the user will be disqualified from receiving the support fund should they decide not to share the information. These directions are a common feature on websites that may be a phishing scam out to harvest people’s information.

Additionally, the website mentions a number of money transfer services such as Western Union, MoneyGram, MasterCard, and Visa through which the cash may be wired.

Further, the website promising the grant is not a legitimate government website. The WHOIS information of its domain, free-fund.online, shows that it was registered on 28 January, 2021, in Akwa Ibom, Nigeria.

Verdict

PesaCheck has looked into the website claiming that the government is offering a COVID-19 emergency relief fund, and finds it to be a HOAX.

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