Hyderabad: Amid rise in Covid-19 related complications like black fungus cases in the state, cyber fraudsters are exploiting innocent citizens who are trying to buy medicines and other related equipment online.
One of the victims, Dhananjay Aswathi, tagging IT minister KT Rama Rao and Hyderabad cybercrime police official on their Twitter handles and tweeted, "My dad is struggling for his life with blackfungus we got cheated of 1.3 lakh on account of the scarcity of medicines. Requesting police to nab these fraudsters - who are thriving in people’s life crisis so that this is not repeated (sic)." Replying to the same, Rama Rao requested police to take strict action.
In the three Commissionerate limits, comprising Hyderabad, Cyberabad and Rachakonda around 15 cases have been registered. There might be several other such cases going unreported as well.
In Hyderabad Commissionerate limits, four cases regarding oxygen concentrators, two cases regarding selling of medicines like Tocilizumab which is an anti-inflammatory drug like remdesivir used in treatment for Covid-19 patients were reported.
In addition to that, in one of the cases, fraudsters siphoned around Rs 2 lakh under the guise of providing the victim with Covid vaccine. The victim believing it to be true transferred the money and later realised that he was duped and approached Hyderabad cybercrime police.
Speaking to this newspaper, Hyderabad cybercrime assistant commissioner of police (ACP) KVM Prasad said, "Unlike big e-commerce companies, others don't even have verified sellers. The company's executives usually visit the seller's place and take pictures and information. However, others don't even know about the seller and place their advertisement on the e-commerce websites. It is also difficult to trace those fraudsters if a victim places an order on unscrupulous websites."
Meanwhile, on Friday Cyberabad police revealed that in one of the cases, cyber fraudsters duped a citizen under the guise of providing medicines for black fungus and siphoned off Rs 8 lakh. Cyberabad cybercrime ACP K. Balakrishna Reddy said, "Taking advantage of the pandemic, cyber criminals are thriving. So far we received around half a dozen complaints regarding Covid-19 related cheating cases."
“Fraudsters are cheating citizens under the name of medicines for Covid-19, black fungus like remdesivir, amphotericin B, and supplying oxygen concentrators,” he added.
When one of the traders contacted a fake supplier online for delivering oxygen concentrators, the accused cheated him of Rs 20 lakhs under Cyberabad commissionerate limits, said an official.
Explaining the modus operandi of these types of frauds, Rachakonda cybercrime ACP S Harinath said, "Usually when a person searches for anything in e-commerce sites, they are receiving calls from the fraudster. Fraudsters are equipping themselves with new technology and stealing all the data and approaching them."
“The police are also receiving complaints regarding fraudsters luring netizens under the guise of providing masks, oxygen concentrators and medicines. Everyone should cross check before sending money to unknown persons and verify the details,” he said.
The police urged the public to contact the director of medical education, Telangana state on email firstname.lastname@example.org for various drugs related to Covid and related diseases....