Coronavirus: Interpol warns fraudsters are using COVID-19 fears to scam victims

SOURCE: Euro News

Interpol has warned people to be vigilant about fraudsters who “exploiting the fear and uncertainty” around the coronavirus outbreak to scam people out of their money.

The international law enforcement agency has listed a number of scams that have been reported to it by member countries in the wake of the COVID-19 emergency.

Most of the victims of the crimes reported to Interpol have been in Asia, and the agency has assisted with at least 30 coronavirus-related cases with links to Asia and Europe.

One of the victims alone lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, the agency said.

The scams include:

  • Telephone fraud: victims receive calls from criminals pretending to be medical officials, claiming a relative has fallen sick with the virus and then requesting payment for their treatment
  • Phishing: victims receive emails from criminals pretending to be from health authorities, or legitimate companies, using similar looking websites or email addresses.

Last week authorities in the UK warned the public that victims of coronavirus-related scams had lost nearly €1 million in February.

People had been conned into buying protective equipment such as facemasks online, or had fallen prey to successful phishing emails or fraudulent phone calls.

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