A registration link is being shared on social media claiming that the Government of India has introduced a new application portal for providing free smartphones to financially backward students. This post claims that in addition to the ongoing Students Laptop scheme, GOI introduced the student smartphone scheme 2022. Sharing the link, this post asks students to enrol on the application portal so that they can get free smartphones being provided by the government. The same registration link was sent to our WhatsApp Tipline (+91 92470 52470) number recently making a similar claim. Let’s verify the claim made in the post.
Claim: GOI introduced a new application portal for providing free smartphones to financially backward students.
Facts: The registration link shared in the post is a fraudulent one. The link redirects the user to a blog and asks for personal details. It also asks the user to share the message until the blue bar provided below in the portal gets filled. Previously, the Press Information Bureau (PIB) debunked many such fake blogs offering smartphones, laptops, and scholarships. Hence the claim made in the post is FALSE.
On clicking the link given in the post, it redirects the user to a blog-“ https://smartph0nes-for-students22.scholarshub.online/”. If the government is providing free smartphones, it does the registration through an official portal, not through a blog. Upon filling the details in the first registration form, it redirects again to a different page asking to fill up many more personal details like phone number, home address, and date of birth. Finally, after filling up this form, it redirects to the final page, where the user is asked to share the registration link with their friends until the blue bar provided below the page gets filled. No government initiative or scheme asks people to share a link on WhatsApp to complete the registration. It is a fraudulent website.
The Press Information Bureau (PIB) has previously debunked the claim when a similar website link went viral in March 2020. Also, recently, the PIB debunked the claim when an advertisement allegedly from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs claimed that, under COVID-19 Online Education Purpose, students from 8th class to PUC 1 will be given laptops at ₹3,500.
In August 2021, Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath has promised to provide free smartphones or tablets to the one-crore youth in the state. The Uttar Pradesh government launched the ‘Free Smartphone Yojana’ in December 2021 and asked students to register in the ‘Digi Shakthi’ portal for getting free smartphones. Yogi Adityanath’s government was distributing these smartphones to the students in the state saying these phones are being linked with the GOI schemes like PM Mudra, PM Yuva Swarozgar, and others.
To sum it up, this registration link alluring free smartphones in the name of a government scheme is a fraudulent one.