Fake News: SSS 20K Emergency Bonus for COVID-19 victims

Image 1: Sample post of a gullible FB user

In light of the on-going efforts of the government to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the country, several organizations, personalities and businesses are stepping up to help. Unfortunately, some people are also using this health crisis to spread fake news and make money out of it online.

A new Facebook post is currently being shared by a number of people claiming that Social Security System (SSS) is giving away Php20,000 to members affected by the enhanced community quarantine brought about by COVID-19. According to the malicious post, President Rodrigo Duterte already approved the release of the money for all SSS members.

The social media post is associated to some unfamiliar websites but there were also domains that bear the name of SSS, perhaps to make them appear more legitimate.

Below are some of the domains used:

  • sssupdates[.]ml
  • dohnotice[.]ml
  • randomnames[.]club
  • ssscheckitnow[.]ml

In a statement released via their official Facebook page, SSS said that this is indeed fake news.

Image 2: SSS’ FB advisory

Clickbaits, as we now commonly call this type of online campaign, not only spread fake news but could also lead its victims to domains containing viruses or even to phishing websites. So far, based on the domains we have initially analyzed, the contents are more of videos that pause at a certain point and would require its victims to re-share the post in their social media account.

The IP address associated to one of the analyzed domains contains multiple records of similar posts online which could give us a hint that the people behind this have been doing it for quite a while. The related posts were all written in Filipino. The culprit must be someone adept of the language and knows how gullible the netizens of this country are.

We also found evidence that the people behind this is only after driving more traffic to their websites by making their social media posts viral. Clickbaits are effective as they leverage on people’s emotions eventually enticing users to visit their websites.

Image 3: Proof found on one of the malicious domains

Fjordan Allego
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