Police urge caution, awareness of fraudsters

Beijing: A total of 85 people who allegedly made use of the novel coronavirus pneumonia crisis to defraud others in 63 cases have been caught in Beijing since the capital’s police strengthened the fight against epidemic-related offenses in January.
The captures have helped the public avoid economic loss of more than 130 million yuan ($18.3 million), a statement from the Beijing Public Security Bureau said on Saturday.
Some suspects in the cases cheated residents out of money by falsifying information about epidemic supplies, such as protective clothing and surgical masks, via popular instant messaging tools, while some defrauders even pretended to be officials from medical institutes, according to the statement.
In February, for example, police in the city’s Haidian district solved a case in which a suspect pretended to be a householder to cheat others out of more than 10,000 yuan by sending fake messages about selling surgical masks in a residential WeChat group, it said. Now, the 22-year-old suspect, surnamed Liu, is being criminally detained and the case is being further investigated, it added. In addition, police across the city also found some suspects first obtained others’ personal information by pretending to be officials from the Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control and then cheated them out of money. They called for residents to be more vigilant when receiving such a call from strangers. Given the demand for protective materials is still great during the outbreak, the police also suggested the public be careful when shopping online and not easily transfer money to strangers selling such supplies on social media platforms.
– The Daily Mail-China Daily News exchange item