Claim: A phishing link promotes visa sponsorship jobs in the USA
Source: WhatsApp message
Researched by David Yovo-Ofori
A phishing message being circulated on WhatsApp in Ghana claims the government of the United States of America is offering visa sponsorship jobs to caregivers who desire to work in the US.
The WhatsApp message suggests that about 300,000 applicants would stand to benefit from the all-expense-paid sponsorship. However GhanaFact has found that the phishing link shared in the WhatsApp message rather seeks to lure unsuspecting individuals to share their Personal Identifiable Information.
A screenshot of the WhatsApp message
“This is not just a move, it’s a leap towards a brighter future, and it’s completely free! Application Deadline: February 2024 (Act Now to Secure Your Spot). Open to students, professionals, and families, this program is your ticket to a new beginning without the burden of expenses. Age is no barrier in your pursuit of the American dream,” the message partly reads.
Clicking on the URL opens a homepage showing the flag of the United States of America with the request for Personal Identifiable Information such as name, email address, country, age range, and gender.
A snapshot of the homepage of the link shared in the Whats App message
After filling out the required information, the page redirects the interested applicant to another page that requires validation of your name with the instruction to share the link onto other WhatsApp platforms to submit your application.
A snapshot of a webpage after clicking on the phishing link
To further verify the link GhanaFact used the digital tool, WHOIS to check for the owners of the domain – recruitment-portal.online.
Using the WHOIS information, GhanaFact discovered the registrar information shows that the domain was registered in Israel on December 09, 2005, updated on October 10, 2023, and is set to expire on August 10, 2024.
Further checks by GhanaFact showed that the URL does not reflect the URLs of the US government, whose .gov domains are registered by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
Thus, the link provided in the WhatsApp message does not correspond to a reputable US government website where genuine government programs or official immigration services and information are provided to the public.
A screenshot of the WHOIS information of the phishing link
GhanaFact investigation revealed that the website operators utilised the services of withheldforprivacy.com, which conceals registrant information when purchasing and registering domain names on behalf of clients.
Additionally, a scan conducted on virustotal.com, which assesses documents and links for potential threats, identified four security vendors flagging the link as malicious.
A screenshot of the results from Virustotal after scanning the phishing link
Also, the viral post lacks specific details regarding the program, eligibility criteria, sponsoring organisation, or official references, contrasting with authentic programs that typically provide comprehensive information about their initiatives, prerequisites, and associated entities.
Meanwhile, Africa Check, a verified member of the International Fact-Checking Network has also debunked a similar message circulating in South Africa in September 2023.
Therefore, the WhatsApp link claiming that the US government is offering visa sponsorship jobs for caregivers who intend to work in the USA is HOAX.
(GhanaFact has contacted the US Embassy in Ghana and is awaiting an official response. The report will be updated once there is feedback.)