Hyderabad: Even as the number of Covid-19 cases continues to surge across the country, the number of people being cheated by fraudsters out to exploit the situation is also rising. The Cybercrime police have been receiving several complaints of cheating in the name of oxygen equipment, beds, ambulance and medicines. In one incident, a youngster from Nizampet was cheated in the guise of a Covid-19 test at home. He found a post on Facebook regarding the service and contacted the person. He was asked to pay Rs 6,000, which he did. The victim realised he was cheated when the results never came.
In another incident, a businessman from the city was duped to the tune of Rs 1 lakh by the fraudsters, who disappeared after promising to deliver him hand gloves in bulk. In a third case, a man was cheated in the guise of donating plasma and anti-viral emergency drugs. He found the post on a social networking platform and contacted the number. An unidentified person spoke to him and introduced himself as someone who had recovered from Covid-19 and was willing to donate plasma. The victim realised he was cheated when the promised help didn’t come.
According to the police, the cyber fraudsters are targeting the anxious relatives of Covid-19 patients, who are desperately searching for availability of medical services on Google. Taking advantage of the situation, fraudsters are posting fake posts and giving their contact numbers. “Once the fraudster gets calls from people asking for medical services like oxygen beds availability, Covid-19 tests, vaccination etc., they collect money as advance. People are paying without verifying the genuineness of the promised help,” said Harinath, ACP (Cybercrime), Rachakonda, adding that it was only when the relatives reached the hospital for beds or other services that they realise they were duped.
Apart from this, it was also observed that of late fraudsters were sending messages on WhatsApp and Facebook, promising medical services. The Cyberabad Police urged citizens not to blindly believe in the posts on social media, emails or messages received on WhatsApp promising to provide medical services during the pandemic. “We need to tweak privacy settings on Facebook accounts. Do not post mobile numbers openly, as fraudsters can misuse them,” said Balakrishna, ACP (Cybercrime), Cyberabad. Officials have also asked relatives and friends looking for assistance for Covid-19 patients to gather information from authentic sources, official websites and to carefully verify the authenticity before making any payment.
Now you can get handpicked stories from Telangana Today on Telegram everyday. Click the link to subscribe.