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Don't click or forward messages offering free recharges from government: COAI

The message claims to offer three months' recharge for free for “online studies” and that the offer is valid till the end of the month. The message also claims that the person who forwarded the message availed of the recharge, which is also misleading.  

None of the three major Indian operators are offering any free recharge with the government. 
None of the three major Indian operators are offering any free recharge with the government.  (Unsplash)

The Cellular Operators Association of India on Wednesday advised users in the country to be careful about fraudulent messages that are currently doing the rounds promising 100 million users a three-month recharge for free via the government.

“Beware of such fraudulent messages. There is no such scheme from the Government or Telecom Service Providers. Don't share or forward such messages and also alert your family and friends,” the COAI tweeted. The link in the message leads to an unknown site that could prompt unsuspecting users into entering their personal information in lieu of a free recharge that does not exist.

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The message in the screenshot shared by the COAI is a sample of one such message that promises three months’ recharge via the government for “online studies” and that Airtel, Jio and Vi SIM holders can take advantage of the “offer” which is valid till the end of the month. However, the next part of the message claims that the sender also availed of the recharge, which could definitely convince enough users to click on the message.

“It has been brought to our notice that fake messages are being circulated on social media platforms by people with fraudulent intentions. The message falsely claims that the Government has promised 100 million users free recharge plans for online education. It encourages people to click on a link to avail the free offer,” said Lt. Gen. Dr. SP Kochhar, Director General, COAI.

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“We want to caution the public about this scam. If you get such a message, DO NOT click on the Link as it could lead to data and information theft from the mobile device, and can have other serious consequences. By simply deleting and not forwarding such message, we can together fight this menace and save others from getting cheated,” he added.

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