Why you should take the text messages you receive about the Coronavirus / Covid-19 with a grain of salt.
People in many countries are receiving viral text messages forwarded on by friends and family, and from unknown numbers, about the Coronavirus / Covid-19. While some information is correct, a lot of it may not be.
In India, misinformation has been spreading about incorrect ways to protect from the virus: drinking hot water and standing in the sun were two false claims about how to avoid the virus. In the USA, some of these text messages warned of a forced quarantine nationwide, despite that not being the case at the time of writing this. In South Africa, false rumours have spread that meat causes the virus and that garlic can cure it. In Australia, text messages have been widely sent that advise where Covid-19 testing centres are in the local area, containing a link in the message. This link attempts to install malware on phones and steal banking details.
Some newspapers believe that this spread of false information is becoming more common over text messages as social media sites crack down on rumours and misinformation.
How Can Truecaller help?
Truecaller will help identify scam messages and organise your inbox into important messages and unwanted/scam SMS. Truecaller’s group chat allows you to accept or reject messages when added to a group chat. Numbers are also automatically hidden unless the others already have your number saved, helping you to avoid scammers getting hold of your number. In addition to this, links can be marked as fake in group chat, helping to stop the spread of misinformation.
Family and friends might have good intentions, but in most cases are unable to verify information before passing it on to you. Instead, visit local government websites, or the World Health Organisation, which often have the most current and relevant information for your area about COVID-19. It is also advised not to trust text messages from unknown numbers, especially about the virus.
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