File photo Photograph:( Reuters )
One victim paying 15,000 pounds for masks that never arrived.
Coronavirus threat is far from over with the number of infections rising over 100,000, impacting nearly 100 countries. Almost 3,400 people have died worldwide from COVID-19 and apart from affecting economy and supplies, coronavirus-linked scams have also caused major losses in the United Kingdom.
UK police said on Friday that people in the country have lost more than 800,000 pounds ($1 million) in coronavirus-linked scams since last month.
Out of the 21 fraud cases reported since February 10, most of the scams were of selling masks, with one victim paying 15,000 pounds for masks that never arrived, The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) said.
So far, 115 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Britain, with the first death occurring on Thursday. Globally, more than 3,300 people have been killed by the virus.
Demand for face masks has spiked in North America, India, China and Europe since the outbreak of the virus.
Britain's competition watchdog warned retailers about price hiking on goods with higher demands as the price of disinfectants and hand sanitisers online jumped to as much as 40 times normal rates.
The police also said that scammers had sent coronavirus-themed phishing emails which appear to be from research organisations linked to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO).
They warned that with the rise in coronavirus numbers, the number of fraud cases was expected to rise.
(With Reuters inputs)