Claim: Viral WhatsApp messages state that free laptops are being given to Ghanaian students via an online link.
Verdict: False. The link associated with the call for laptop applications leads to a malicious website with elements of phishing.
There is a viral message on WhatsApp that free laptops are being distributed to Ghanaian students, and recipients of the text, which is circulating in various groups, are being urged to visit an attached link to redeem the supposed laptops.
“This scheme is open to all students who, for financial reasons, cannot purchase a laptop of their own and need [a] laptop in their level of education. In 2023, over 960,000 students will be given [a] free laptop to enhance their learning. Application has begun, and students have started getting their laptops.”
An attempt to visit the website returned with a warning from Microsoft Defender SmartScreen that the website could be a phishing site impersonating a trusted website to trick people into revealing personal or financial information.
“The site you are trying to visit could be a phishing site in disguise. Continuing to this site might put your sensitive information — like passwords, credit card numbers, contact info, or software activation keys — at risk,” the warning reads.
Many users have reported the website to contain elements of phishing.
According to itgovernance.co.uk, phishing is a type of online fraud that involves tricking people into providing sensitive information, such as passwords or credit card numbers, by masquerading as a trustworthy source.
While the original domain name is displayed as https://cut.ke, it redirects users to another website, Hights.today, which was created barely a month ago.
Accessing the website from a secure computer, we found that it demanded sensitive information from users, including personal phone numbers requiring applicants to download an app.
The website source code showed the various steps applicants must go through to receive the illusory offer.
To lure many into the scheme, the website required applicants to share the information with 15 friends or 5 WhatsApp groups to complete their registration.
The government of Ghana is currently not running any program distributing free laptops to students.
The Director General of the Ghana Education Service Dr Eric Nkansah, revealed that the key digital program relating to the distribution of devices was the tablets announced by vice president Dr Mahamudu Bawumia for Senior High School students.
Dr Eric Nkansah revealed that “the first consignment of the tablets are already in Ghana and ready for distribution.”
He added that the government is still “distributing laptops to teachers” under the 2021 one teacher, one laptop initiative.
The message that free laptops are being given to Ghanaian students and claims for the laptop should be made via an online link is false. The link is malicious and could lead to stealing one’s personal information in a phishing attack.