BENGALURU: While crimes such as murder, robbery, and chain snatching have dipped in the city thanks to the lockdown, offences surrounding Covid are flourishing. Many are on the prowl to make the most of the pandemic, by conning helpless people amidst this raging health crisis.
The pandemic has created such an opportunity that many fraudsters are thriving by exploiting and extorting people, who are in dire need of medical help, be it an ICU bed, oxygen, or a Remdesivir injection.
“While conventional crimes have dipped due to increased checks to enforce lockdown, cybercrime has continued unchecked. Last year, we had cracked down on those who were producing low-quality or duplicate hand sanitisers and masks, which were in high demand. But in the second wave, there is a whole lot of new scams that are being unearthed. However, they do not pose any major challenge for us to solve, as most of those running these activities are new to the world of crime,” said a senior official in the Central Crime Branch (CCB).
Almost every day, the police are arresting people for their alleged involvement in blackmarketing of Remdesivir injections, and charging exorbitant prices for oxygen cylinders.
The probe into the bed-blocking scam has revealed that a huge number of private hospitals were handin- glove with fraudsters.
Many including doctors were also arrested for issuing fake Covid-19 negative certificates. In another instance, a doctor and another woman were caught for running a ‘private vaccination programme’ in a house.
COMMON COVID CRIMES
Hoarding of Remdesivir injections
Charging exorbitant prices for oxygen cylinders
Issuing fake Covid-19 negative certificates without tests
Bulk promotions claiming medicine required for Covid treatment is available, and cheating people in need