Online Deception Alert: Beware of Fraudulent Apps Offering VIP Access to Ram Mandir Event

As anticipation mounts for the upcoming Ram Lalla Pran Pratishtha ceremony in Ayodhya, a disturbing trend of online deception has surfaced. Exploiting the religious fervor of devotees, scammers are circulating fraudulent VIP passes for the event through WhatsApp.

According to a report by News18, users have reported receiving an APK (android application package) named ‘Ram Janmabhoomi Grihsampark Abhiyan.APK.’ This file prompts users to install it on their Android smartphones, promising VIP access to the Ram Mandir Pran Pratishtha event and encouraging them to forward it to others.

While the report does not specify the exact nature of this APK, it is suspected to contain spyware that could compromise user data, potentially leading to unauthorized access to real-time location, financial fraud, and theft of personal information such as contacts, private photos, and videos.

It is crucial to note that neither the state nor central government, nor the Ram Mandir Trust, has launched any official app for VIP invites. The reported APK is deemed fraudulent and poses a risk of financial losses and data theft.

This issue primarily affects Android smartphones, as iPhone users are immune to such scams due to Apple’s restrictions on sideloading apps. Additionally, caution is advised against websites claiming to provide free Ram Mandir Prasad, where users are only required to cover shipping charges. The legitimacy of such platforms remains unconfirmed, and users are urged to stay away to avoid potential risks to their phone numbers, emails, and addresses.

Here are some red flags to watch out for:

  • Unfamiliar phone numbers: The invites often originate from unknown numbers, lacking any official affiliation with the temple or the event.
  • Suspicious links: The messages may contain links to download malware or lead to phishing websites designed to steal personal information.
  • Excessive promises: Offers that seem too good to be true, like guaranteed darshan or VIP entry, are almost certainly fraudulent.
  • Grammatical errors or typos: Official communications from the Trust are typically professional and error-free.

What to do if you receive a fake invite:

  • Do not reply or click on any links: Engaging with the scammers exposes you to further risk.
  • Report the message: Forward the invite to the authorities or anti-fraud helplines.
  • Spread awareness: Inform your family and friends about the scam to protect them from falling prey.
  • Follow official channels: Stay updated on the Pran Pratishtha through the Trust’s official website and social media platforms.
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