UK victims scammed out of more than $1 million in coronavirus frauds

UK victims scammed out of more than $1 million in coronavirus frauds

Scams tied to the coronavirus outbreak have cost victims in the United Kingdom more than 800,000 pounds, or about $1 million.

The Nation Fraud Intelligence Bureau said it has recorded 21 fraud claims since Feb. 10, with many involving scams over masks, Reuters reported. One victim, for example, reportedly paid 15,000 pounds for masks that were never delivered.

A total of 115 cases of the coronavirus have been counted in Britain so far. The first death from the virus was reported Thursday.

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The public demand for equipment such as face masks has swelled globally.

A competition watchdog in Britain cautioned retailers about raising prices of goods in demand during the outbreak, such as hand sanitizers, as prices have soared online, according to Reuters. 

The police said that some scammers and criminals also created phishing emails, pretending to be from research organizations linked to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

Authorities said that the number of fraudulent schemes could grow amid fears of the spreading virus.

The coronavirus has killed more than 3,300 people so far, according to Reuters.