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Covid Brings A Wave of New Scams in New India

India has an extensive history of audacious scams that swindle people. From fake medicines to recycled PPE kits, from fire extinguishers disguised as oxygen cylinders to fake COVID 19 vaccines, India’s fight with the coronavirus is made impossible because of the ever-inventive army of scammers. Scamming is prevalent since the beginning of the pandemic.

During the first phase of the virus, sanitizers and masks were sold at higher prices. The buyers were given fake sanitizers at higher prices. Along with Covid, the people of India have to fight with the Covid Scam. These Cybercriminals are working overtime during the Covid period because they see opportunities when the people are scared.

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Second Wave of COVID 19

During the second wave, when there was a deficit of oxygen cylinders, PPE kits, medicines, and injections, the scamming was at its peak. As there was a deficit of oxygen cylinders in India, those were available in black. One oxygen cylinder was available for the price of three cylinders. Medicines like Remdesivir were fake. The prices of the Covid necessities were so high that middle-class people could not even dare to afford them.

There have been plenty of people who have been duped by scammers. The scammers asked for half of the total amount of the cylinders to book them and then refuse to deliver them. During the desperate times, the family, friends, and relatives of the covid patients were doing everything to get the oxygen cylinder available so that their loved ones can live. They were buying the necessities in black money also so that their loved ones can live.

After making all the efforts and arranging for the hefty amount of money, they receive fake oxygen cylinders, medicines, and fake injections, which leads to the death of the patient. Thousands of people are dead because of the perpetrators who were paid the money over the internet but never delivered the oxygen cylinders. Many people spent thousands of money on the oxygen cylinders, but each one of them reported that the cylinders never arrived.

After the devastating second wave was over and it was time for the people to get themselves vaccinated, it came to light that as many as 2000 people have been jabbed with saline water at camps where they were charged between Rupees 800 to 1,260 in Navi Mumbai. In the month of May, the BMC had allowed the vaccination camps at housing societies. The people who have been arrested now allegedly refilled empty vials with nothing more than saline water and administered them to thousands of people in Mumbai at a high price.

The perpetrators are getting rich on the price of the lives of people. At least 2000 people in the Indian financial capital of Mumbai and 500 in eastern Bengal may have fallen prey to the saline water vaccine. They are accused of filling empty bottles of actual vaccines with a saline water solution.

The matter came into effect when the people who got vaccinated never reported the post-vaccination effects. They grew suspicious when their vaccination certificates were not reflected on the government’s online portal, CoWIN. The Bombay High Court asked the authorities to ensure that this kind of activity never happens again and innocent folks are not deceived in future.

In another case, fake Covid-19 tests were conducted during the Kumbh Mela that was held in the month of April. The investigation held by the Uttarakhand Health Department has found out that at least 4 lakh tests conducted by the private labs may have been fake. Delhi-based Dr. Lalchandani Lab and a private firm, Max Corporate Service have been accused of conducting fake Covid-19 tests.

These labs issued fake Covid-19 Negative reports. FIR has been lodged against these firms. This matter came to light when a man complained to the Indian Council of Medical Research about receiving a message that he has tested negative at the Kumbh even though he had not given a sample for it.

How can you save yourself from these Scams?

  • To avoid chaos in the rush to get vaccinated, the Government has launched the Co-WIN portal. Taking advantage of this the scammers have created the fake website with the same name. One way to identify the fake website is by looking at the URL which says, ‘co-vine.
  • Websites like Telegram are not government-approved sources of vaccines. Some telegram groups may be genuine but you should not take any risk regarding them.
  • Medicines like Remdesivir are sold only in government offices. Despite this, black marketing is prevalent. People are asking for help on Social Media but are falling prey to these scams. The leads that you get from Social Media can be verified on the COV.SOCIAL website.
  • Avoid making payment in advance.

Edited by Aishwarya Ingle

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