$1 million stolen in UK coronavirus scams

Criminals are tricking people who want to buy protective masks

In the United Kingdom, vulnerable people who are afraid of coronavirus have lost more than 800,000 british pounds ($1 million in US dollars) to coronavirus scams in the last month.

One victim paid 15,000 pounds for anti-coronavirus masks that never arrived.

Britain's National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) said on Friday there have been 21 reports of fraud since February 10, mostly mask scams.

More from Reuters:

Britain has so far registered 115 cases of the coronavirus known as COVID-19, which has killed more than 3,300 people globally since it started in China. On Thursday, health officials reported the first death of a patient in Britain who had tested positive for the virus.

Demand for face masks has surged in North America, India, China and Europe since the outbreak of the virus, with Washington considering invoking special powers to boost the production of masks and other protective gear.

Britain's competition watchdog warned retailers about price hiking on highly sought-after goods during the outbreak as the price of disinfectants and hand sanitizers online soared to as much as 40 times normal rates.

Read more at Reuters:
Coronavirus fraud: UK victims lose 800,000 pounds in scams