A social media post accompanying a list of mobile numbers is being widely circulated across the social media platforms. The Tamil text accompanying these numbers loosely translates to ‘Children who need a school book and children who are unable to pay school fees can contact the numbers below.’ Through this article let’s fact-check the veracity of the message being shared through the post.
Claim: Contact information to avail free textbooks and school fee for poor children.
Fact: The same message has been doing rounds on the internet at least since 2015. However, these numbers are currently inactive, and the list does not provide any details of the sponsors. There is no information about any organisation acknowledging this viral message. Earlier in 2017, a similar message was reported as fake by Maharashtra police. Hence the claim made in the post is FALSE.
These same set of mobile numbers have been doing rounds on the internet at least since 2015. We could trace back to a 2015 Facebook post that shared the same set of numbers with a similar claim. And the same message is being shared every year (here, here & here).
Further, this message is being doing rounds in other languages also (here & here). However, none of these numbers are currently active. While some of the numbers are out of use, some are switched off. It is noteworthy to mention that the viral list does not mention the details about the sponsor, i.e. whether it is an NGO/private or government organisation that is offering this.
Further search led us to 2017 news article that reported a similar message which went viral in the name of police officer Vishwas Nangre Patil as fake.
To sum it up, message offering free books and school fees is fake. Same message has been shared for many years.