The link to the website does not direct to any legitimate government website.
Syndicated story by PesaCheck
A website claiming that an unidentified government is running a COVID-19 emergency relief fund is a HOAX.
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.
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.
This post is part of an ongoing series of PesaCheck fact-checks examining content marked as potential misinformation on Facebook and other social media platforms.
By partnering with Facebook and similar social media platforms, third-party fact-checking organisations like PesaCheck are helping to sort fact from fiction. We do this by giving the public deeper insight and context to posts they see in their social media feeds.
Have you spotted what you think is fake news or false information on Facebook? Here’s how you can report. And, here’s more information on PesaCheck’s methodology for fact-checking questionable content.
PesaCheck is East Africa’s first public finance fact-checking initiative. It was co-founded by Catherine Gicheru and Justin Arenstein, and is being incubated by the continent’s largest civic technology and data journalism accelerator: Code for Africa. It seeks to help the public separate fact from fiction in public pronouncements about the numbers that shape our world, with a special emphasis on pronouncements about public finances that shape government’s delivery of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) public services, such as healthcare, rural development and access to water/sanitation. PesaCheck also tests the accuracy of media reportage. To find out more about the project, visit pesacheck.org.
PesaCheck is an initiative of Code for Africa, through its innovateAFRICA fund, with support from Deutsche Welle Akademie, in partnership with a coalition of local African media and other civic watchdog organisations.