As Karnataka faces an acute shortage of both medical oxygen and Redmisivir for the treatment of COVID-19 patients, there's a spike in illegal trade of these in-demand supplies. Amidst all this, there's a new nuisance that is trying to leverage the demand for oxygen and Remdesivir.
A viral WhatsApp message with a link has been going viral in many groups, claiming to be from the government of Karnataka. While the message itself doesn't say anything, the link appears to be for the fulfillment of oxygen and Remdesivir. When clicked on the link, it opens an online data form, where a private hospital is required to fill in all sorts of information for "Remdesivir and Oxygen supply chain management."
The information required in the form is hospital name, contact details, registration number of pharmacist, number of beds, including ICU, oxygen storage capacity, oxygen and Remdesivir supplier details, drug license number and more.
Recipients are likely to click on the link as the thumbnail is of the Government of Karnataka, which gives the impression that it is an official order.
International Business Times reviewed the viral link in circulation. There are many red flags in the data form. For starters, the Government of Karnataka thumbnail is nowhere to be found on the data form, which is the first indication that it is fake. Government orders are not circulated in the form of online data forms, rather it is done through the official website after proper notification is sent out.
If you look at the web address for the data form, it gets clear that it is not from the government, rather someone random has created it for the sake of hoarding crucial hospital data. The form has been created using an online tool called Paperform.
IBTimes also learned from government sources that no such form has been in circulation in Karnataka to take stock of Remdesivir and oxygen supplies in private hospitals.
Based on these observations, IBTimes has arrived at the conclusion that the data form for Remdesivir and oxygen is fake and private hospitals must refrain from filling it out. This will send out crucial hospital information, which can be used maliciously if intended.