With surging coronavirus cases across the country, social media has also been flooded with all kinds of misinformation.
One such message that has gone viral on social media is about an NGO providing free plasma to COVID-19 patients in need.
“Anyone needing plasma in Delhi- PLEASE GIVE THEM THIS NO. They arrange it immediately free of cost via Team Step ONe – Dr Monica Bhagat +91 98100 26546
NGO No. 9811869823” the viral Facebook message read.
The Facebook post can be seen here, here, here, here and here.
The same message was shared by multiple users on Twitter also.
The message can be seen here, here and here.
NewsMobile fact-checked the post and found the claim to be false.
We noticed that the viral message was circulated in the name of Step One NGO. According to their Twitter Bio, they are ‘a 100% volunteer run, community of doctors & citizen volunteers, fighting COVID 19 via free telemedicine’.
We shared the viral message with Step One, and they confirmed to NewsMobile that the viral message is fake.
“The message is fake and the numbers mentioned there do not belong to us – it belongs to an individual who cannot help. So please mark it as fake,” Step One told NewsMobile via Email.
Later, Step One also put out a clarification on their official Twitter handle.
“A fake message is making rounds in all social media platforms in the name of Team StepOne. Please do not make calls to these numbers. None of the numbers are associated with us nor can they arrange plasma donors. Our helpline number is 9745697456 for any COVID19 related issues,” they tweeted.
A fake message is making rounds in all social media platforms in the name of Team StepOne. Please do not make calls to these numbers. None of the numbers are associated with us nor can they arrange plasma donors. Our helpline number is 9745697456 for any COVID19 related issues. pic.twitter.com/DkkoybQRPO
— StepOne (@Projectstepone) April 15, 2021
We also contacted both the numbers mentioned in the message.
One of the numbers belongs to Aqbal Kaur Khurrana, a social activist based in Gurugram. She told us that the message is fake. She has been receiving calls about this since April 9 and she has reached out to the NGO and her mobile service provider regarding this. She also informed us that she has reported the matter to the Cyber Cell and they are looking into it.
“It is a sensitive matter as people who are calling are in distress and in need of help. The matter has to be brought to the light and handled appropriately,” Aqbal told NewsMobile.
The other number is of Dr Monica Bhagat. Monika started the journey of social service with her nursing home and joined Step One as a volunteer during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Someone has added some random number and written NGO in the message. I helped some people in arranging plasma as Step One was associated with ILBS. So someone made this message viral. Since then I have never refused anyone and have been constantly sending guiding messages,” she told NewsMobile.
Hence, from the above information, it is clear that the viral message is False and misleading.
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