Fraudsters prey on desperation of Covid patients’ kin to get oxygen, drugs

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In a desperate search for Remdesivir injections for his ailing mother in Delhi, Vikramjeet Bhatnagar dialled an unknown number he received from a relative. The man who answered the call had assured him of providing two vials of the drug that is used to treat Covid-19 patients. He transferred Rs 10,000 through a digital wallet, but the vials never came.

On Sunday evening, Heena Malhotra transferred Rs 5,500 as token amount towards the delivery of an oxygen cylinder for her mother, but soon realised she was cheated.

The Delhi Police said it has received over 35 complaints in the last two weeks from people allegedly duped by fraudsters who promised to help them with vital drugs and medical oxygen.

Delhi Police Spokesperson, Chinmoy Biswal told The Indian Express, “We are also keeping tabs on the activity of these fraudsters and people should be aware.”

Bhatnagar said: “I was so desperate that I transferred the amount immediately. Within minutes, I called him back to coordinate, but found the number was switched off. I realised that I was cheated and then I filed an online complaint with the cyber cell.”

An officer said cyber criminals are adopting innovative ways to dupe the innocent people and trying to benefit from people’s desperation and misery during the pandemic. “We are monitoring their activities and blocking several bogus websites after it came to our notice. Fraudsters are putting out their numbers along with genuine good,” an officer said.

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