We expect more criminals will become involved in organised property crime during the pandemic. Criminals try to cash in on COVID-19 by targeting society’s most vulnerable groups, such as senior citizens.
How do they do it?
- Impersonating a police officer and asking their victims to hand over their money for safekeeping during the COVID-19 crisis.
- Pretending to be a sick relative and asking for help with medical costs.
- Dropping by unexpectedly and offering to disinfect the victim’s home or administer a COVID-19 test, while using the opportunity to steal valuables.
- Offering to run errands for those who cannot leave their homes. Once criminals get cash, cards or a PIN, they will never return.
What can I do?
Stay vigilant and remind your relatives and neighbours:
- don’t let strangers into their house;
- never hand over money or other valuables to strangers (police and other authorities will never ask to do so);
- use official channels to get home care support;
- always report suspicious activity to the police.
Medical equipment has become a precious commodity. Thieves have been stealing essential medical supplies such as masks, gowns, gloves, disinfectants and ventilators.
- the healthcare system as medical care facilities will have to purchase more equipment to make up for the loss;
- the patients who cannot benefit from the required care;
- the medical staff who cannot properly protect themselves against COVID-19.
How do they do it?
- Criminals break into hospitals, storage rooms or cargo.
- Criminals can pose as delivery persons or technicians, claiming to have been asked to deliver the equipment to another institution or that they need to inspect or service the machines.
What can medical professionals and suppliers do?
- Raise awareness among the hospital staff on the importance of safeguarding the equipment.
- Don’t leave medical equipment unattended.
- Protect and lock storage rooms.
- Transport medical supplies in unmarked vehicles.
- Encourage reporting – make sure employees are aware of the risks and know who to address if they suspect any wrongdoing.
- If possible, increase security during this period (e.g. cameras, security staff, etc.).