Counterfeit drugs, recycled PPE. Fraudsters make COVID misery worse in India Coronavirus epidemic News:

From counterfeit drugs to oxygen cylinders to recycled personal protective equipment (PPE) camouflaged fire extinguishers, India’s coronavirus crisis has benefited the ever-inventing army of fraudsters, sometimes with deadly consequences.

Last month, Komal Taneja’s husband, Chandrakant, suffocated at his New Delhi home for an oxygen tank, for which they paid $ 200 online.

“For a week we desperately tried to find a hospital bed … Two private hospitals asked us for a million rupees ($ 13,800) in advance,” Komal, who broke the phone, told AFP.

“After that, we got in touch online, promising to deliver an oxygen cylinder for 15,000 rupees ($ 205) within an hour of payment. “When we did that, they asked for more money and then stopped responding.”

Chandrakant, a 36-year-old stockbroker, died on May 1, leaving his housewife looking for work to help care for her ailing parents.

India has a long history of brazen deceptions that drive ordinary people out, including beyond its borders.

In just one typical case, police ransacked a call center in December for allegedly defrauding 4,500 Americans of $ 14 million.

Falsifying US officials, they told the victims that their bank accounts were using drug cartels, the only option being to convert their assets into Bitcoin, which the group would later cash out.

A detailed scam involving police and doctors in 2019 saw hundreds of villagers in Haryana claiming to have died in traffic accidents to claim insurance.

Investigators say many fraudsters have focused their attention on tearing off the relatives of desperate COVID-19 patients as India carries a devastating wave of coronavirus.

Narang, the head of Noida’s private company, said he was deceived by a complex deception when he was desperately looking for oxygen concentrate for a sick friend.

“I came across a link from a supplier that looked real and even had a catalog with different models. “Prices were also competitive,” Narang told AFP.

“I spoke to a man on the phone. He asked for about 45,000 rupees ($ 616) in two installments. I was convinced that it was real, I even suggested this acquaintance to another acquaintance.

The device never came.

The Narang case is one of at least 600 recent police investigations in New Delhi into people desperately searching for oxygen, hospital beds and drugs.

“These criminals saw this as an opportune time to enter,” Delhi Police Chief Officer Shibesh Singh told AFP.

His Crime Branch teams have already arrested a number of fraudsters, including a gang that designed and sold fake doses of the antiviral drug Remdesivir for up to 40 times the market price.

“These people were making fake bottles that cost about 20 rupees (30 cents) և (they) were selling it in the market for more than 10,000 rupees,” Singh said.

In another case, the group painted fire extinguishers, sold them as oxygen cylinders, and in another, introduced themselves as doctors offering non-existent hospital beds.

Six men were reportedly arrested this week on suspicion of washing, repackaging and selling several tons of used surgical gloves from hospitals.

“We can only urge people to be extra careful while such contacts approach online help,” Singh said.

Some victims demand harsh punishments.

“Hang on to everyone,” said the Heir.

“If not, then the government should provide life imprisonment. It’s not just mental or financial, they are playing with human life. “

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