HYDERABAD: Two WhatsApp forwards that claim to be from TAJ HOTELS and TATA are being shared online offering free gifts on the occasion of Valentine's Day. TAJ message claims that the hotel is offering a free stay for 7 days. TATA message claims that it is giving out free Mi 11T smartphones to lucky winners who fill out a survey.
TAJ HOTEL message reads: "TAJ EXPERIENCES GIFT CARD TAJ Hotel sent out 200 gift cards to celebrate Valentine's Day. You can use this card to stay for 7 days at any hotel in TAJ for free. All you have to do is open the correct gift box. You have 3 tries, good luck!"
TATA message reads: "Answer the questions to receive Valentine's Day gifts. I participated in this questionnaire and won a mobile phone. My friend also got the prize. Come and get prizes".
Below are screenshots of the viral messages:
1. FAKE TAJ HOTEL MESSAGE:
We found a tweet by the official Twitter account by THE TAJ that dismisses the claim. It states that the Taj Hotels/IHCL has not offered any such promotion.
" It has come to our notice that a website has been promoting a Valentine's Day initiative, offering a Taj Experiences Gift Card via WhatsApp. We would like to inform you that Taj Hotels/IHCL has not offered any such promotion. We request to take note of this and exercise due caution," Taj tweeted.
We also checked on the link attached to the viral message and found that it no longer exists.
The BUSINESS TODAY and TIMES OF INDIA also debunked this claim. The report reads: "Mumbai Cyber police on Monday warned people not to fall victim to the offers that are posted on social media for the coming Valentine's Day".
2. FAKE TATA MESSAGE:
We clicked on the link provided with the message and found that it leads to another page where questions such as age, gender, and type of use used were asked. Upon answering these, it leads to the user selecting one box out of twelve.
NewsMeter tried it out a few times and noticed that on almost every trial, in every second chance, the user wins the gift. It should be noted that if this were an actual giveaway, it wouldn't be easy to win.
We also noticed that the links connect to the IP address of the user and ask the user to share the message on their WhatsApp groups. It should be noted that this method is very common in hacking and stealing information from phones and laptops.
The TATA GROUP tweeted: "These claims and links haven't been issued by us. Be careful and always check the sources".
It stated that the web address is a hoax.
Mumbai Police Cyber wing warned users to stay clear of the viral message and avoid clicking on the links. The links are suspected to have hidden malware that could steal data like passwords and bank details from the system or phone once clicked. "Such internet links promising freebies aim to capture personal details, which could be used to carry out online frauds," a cyber wing official told news agency PTI.
Evidently, it is clear that neither TATA nor TAJ HOTEL are offering any gifts on the occasion of Valentine's day.