Are you waiting for a free cycle and helmet on Independence Day? You will be disappointed – this is fake news

Beware of fake messages on social media promising freebies. They are phishing for your personal information.

Are you waiting for a free cycle and helmet on Independence Day? You will be disappointed – this is fake news

Tempted by the news that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to distribute free cycles and helmets on Independence Day? Stop. Do not given in to the temptation of getting something "free". It might actually cost you a lot. Recent viral messages on social media announcing the scheme for distributing free cycles and helmets are fake. Do not visit the website mentioned in the message, do not send in your personal details and please, do not forward the message to your friend list.

Here's how we know that the message is fake. Firstly, the government itself has denied it. The message claims that the free helmets will be distributed under a Road Safety scheme and the free cycles as part of the Government's Cycle Mission. But there is no such plan.

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Secondly, take a closer look at the website address. It ends with a ".com". This is a dead giveaway since all government department websites end in ".gov.in" or ".nic.in".

So though the design of the message, its colour scheme and the clever use of the prime minister's picture all make it seem authentic, it is not.

Remember, any website that seeks your personal information – like your father's name, your date of birth, your address – may be selling this information to hackers. Hackers can use this kind of information to get into your bank accounts, your personal emails and so much more. Remain alert and do not become a victim of phishing.

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