The right way to respond to chainmail
Chain mail spreading fake news, inaccurate information about the lockdown and bizarre cures has been rampant since the beginning of the pandemic. As WHO has classed it, we are currently experiencing an “infodemic,” with false information spreading among the public “faster than the virus.” These messages can repetitive and annoying, such as the WhatsApp users who were bombarded with messages telling them that “A Dean Koontz novel written in 1981 predicted the outbreak of the coronavirus! – Spread it!” But the danger lies in these messages spreading harmful safety advice, from dangerous cures to assurances that with the right herbal remedy you become immune to the virus. Here are the key steps you should take if you receive one of these messages:
- Do not follow any links the message may suggest, especially if the message was sent from an unfamiliar number and the person is urging you to click it.
- Depending on your service provider, there may be a method of reporting scam messages so that other unsuspecting users won’t receive them. Do this to prevent someone from susceptible to these kinds of threats being exploited.
- If you’re on your phone, you can also report the scam to your mobile phone provider to prevent the harmful information being spread into the public.
- Delete the message and/or block the sender.
- If the sender happens to be someone close, it’s worth explaining why (as respectfully as you can) that passing on false information like this at a time of social unrest is not a good idea.