The shortage of medical oxygen has led to the high demand of precious gas, giving rise to black marketing and hoarding. But there's another major threat amidst the ongoing oxygen crisis in the nation, one that will shatter the hopes of desperate people looking for oxygen cylinders for their loved ones and even cost them dearly amidst an already financially tense situation. A massive racket is in operation based out of Jamtara, wherein a group of miscreants is tasked with trapping people in need of medical oxygen or other vital drugs.
International Business Times learned of one such operation, where a victim was lured into the trap with a fake promise of oxygen cylinders. But the racket goes beyond one victim and one gang.
Laying the trap
Social media has emerged as ground zero for help, be it requiring a hospital bed, ICU, Remdesivir, or oxygen cylinders. Influencers have been amplifying verified leads in order to help those in need and make their voices heard so they get the help needed. But amidst this noble work, there's the malice of certain gangs whose sole intention is to trap unsuspecting victims.
Various fake verified leads for oxygen cylinders are widely circulated on social media for people to amplify them further. When these fake leads are sent forward, the recipient assumes they are verified as they are coming from a trusted contact. In fact, their faith is restored when the lead responds.
At first, according to the victim, the numbers do not respond. Later, the caller gets a call from another number, saying they couldn't answer the call on those numbers. Further, into the conversation, the caller shares agency details and location and asks for the patient's details to build a sense of trust. Then the caller is asked to make the payment, and bank details, as well as Google Pay details, are shared.
Since the caller is assured that the oxygen cylinder will be delivered once the payment is made, the person in need would naturally fall for it. The scammer then says the oxygen cylinder will be delivered to the given address within 2-3 hours.
But that's the end of it. The scammers get the payment and turn off their phones. The victim, who fell for this scam, lodged a complaint with a cyber cell and was able to trace the origin of those calls to Jamtara.
It is important for people to stay vigilant, even in these trying times. If you're looking for an oxygen cylinder, make sure you thoroughly verify the leads and NEVER make payments in advance, especially when the source is unverified.