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KOLKATA: Cops on Sunday warned people, especially senior citizens keen on taking a booster dose, that they should be careful about the phone calls offering to register them for the shot online and then seeking personal details, including a one-time password (OTP). to siphon money from their bank accounts.
Union home ministry has also sent out a caution and said it had not made any booster dose available in this manner. The warning came in the wake of multiple complaints about this fraud surfacing across the country.
A police officer said booster doses that would begin on January 10 for senior citizens did not require pre-booking as they would get it by walking into a vaccination center. With Omicron Cases on the rise, the fraudsters are trying to cash in on the fear and panic of people. They usually introduce themselves as health department officials from the state or Center and at times even the PMO and then send out online links and QR codes to people asking them to book the booster dose.
Sometimes fraudsters choose the victims from social media, from where they get to know about their vaccination status “You are double vaccinated and are due for a booster dose,” is how some of them approach senior citizens. The caller may even share other personal details scanned through social media to make the victim believe that he is a genuine government official.
“The monetary losses to such fraud vary from a meagre amount to huge ones. Recovering the stolen money from other states like Jharkhand, Odisha, Rajasthan or Haryana is not so easy, “said an officer. The MHA had earlier warned against putting up Covid certificates on social media to stop this kind of misuse.

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