IFF aids victims of oxygen fraud

City Covid-19 Health India Law National Pandemic

With the rising number of fraudulent cases across the nation, the Internet Freedom Foundation has decided to provide legal help to the common man.

Bangalore: Sanjana, a lawyer at International Freedom Foundation (IFF) recently filed a complaint in Delhi against a person impersonating Cipla Foundation. “The amount of money involved is over Rs. one a lakh as of now,” she said. The IFF Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) lends legal help to citizens scammed by oxygen suppliers across the nation. Sanjana, a lawyer at IFF recently filed a complaint in Delhi against a person impersonating Cipla Foundation. “The amount of money involved is over a lakh as of now,” she said.

In the last two days, the Delhi Police registered over a hundred FIRs, of which 61 cases pertain to cheating and fraud in the name of providing COVID-19 supplies.

Fridays For Future India, (FFF), the Indian chapter of the global climate strike movement started by Greta Thunberg, is gathering information to pass on to the IFF. 

“We are just bridging the gap between the people who were cheated or scammed and the lawyer. As we (FFF) know of people who could help, we’re just connecting. Over ten people, that is via the form on our social media pages, have reached out to us from Bangalore, Delhi, Ghaziabad, Hyderabad, and Mumbai.” “People from Bangalore, Delhi, Ghaziabad, Hyderabad, and Mumbai have reached out to us via the form available on our social media pages,” said Vaishnavi, the social media manager of FFF. 

A volunteer of Covid SOS Help, Srashti Tyagi, has been verifying lists of COVID-19 resources circulating online for almost a month.  The 23-year-old from Mumbai said that the leads they receive from social media are verified personally before passing it on further. Tyagi spends two to three hours daily apart from her MBA studies verifying the phone numbers.

“I have noticed that a lot of suppliers ask for money in advance. The chances of them turning out to be frauds are high. They ask for half the money via bank account and switch off their phones as soon as payment has been made. We have been advised by our head to avoid sending such leads to patients” she said.

“We allocate patients among our team members to whoever wants to be the Point of Contact (POC) for the patient. Only that POC will inform lead verification team members about the patient’s requirement. Verified leads are then passed on to the patient’s family.” she added.

Amina Arif, a cardiovascular invasive specialist in a private set up said,  “The oxygen or any medical gas supplied to a hospital undergoes an air quality test and a purity test, and based on its results the purity is determined based on its result. The medical gases (oxygen here) comes as a compressed O2 in liquid form to the hospitals. So, for the common man to make sure it’s authentic, they’ll have to check with the oxygen generation plants, from where the compressed O2 is supplied in cylinders. There is no other way to determine.”

Aastik Dhingra, a Delhi-based Advocate based in Delhi said, “The bank or the payment company will have to take care of the liability to the full extent of the fraud is reported within three days and if they find the complaint is genuine. But if the customer takes longer than three days to report the fraud, it becomes difficult to claim a full liability,”

“One can seek GST details, office address, Aaadhar Card, and other details before paying any money and verify these details. Online verification is also a possibility. However, if you are scammed and duped. The way forward is to file an FIR which can also be done online,” he advised. 

Delhi Police Helpline: 011 – 23469900