Police arrested a man in the Indian city of Hyderabad on Monday for scamming over 200 people by falsely posing as a plasma donor for coronavirus patients, the Times of India (TOI) reported Tuesday.
Plasma, the liquid portion of the blood, contains antibodies and may be used in convalescent therapy to treat severe cases of the Chinese coronavirus.
Hyderabad Police identified the man as 25-year-old Reddy Sandeep from Andhra Pradesh, a state south of Hyderabad. According to the police, Reddy noticed a “huge demand” online for plasma and antiviral drugs to treat coronavirus patients. He then reached out to people seeking plasma donations on social media, posing as a recovered coronavirus patient and plasma donor. He also offered to arrange shipments of antiviral drugs to interested buyers.
Reddy then requested that the victims send him money via online payment apps to cover his supposed transportation costs. After the money transferred, he would cut off communication with the victims. Police said the man duped over 200 people, mainly from Hyderabad, out of money through this fraudulent operation.
“He has also cheated some people in the guise of arranging Tocilizumab 400 mg, a drug used for treating Covid-19 [Chinese coronavirus],” Chakravarthy told TOI.
Prior to his arrest on Monday, Reddy was fresh out of jail following his arrest in the Andhra Pradesh city of Vizag in connection with two unrelated theft cases, the Hindu reported. Police said that Reddy was a hardware engineer but started the plasma fraud after he was released from jail and struggled to find a job.