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Criminals making most of COVID-19 outbreak

TOKYO >> Burglars breaking into homes where kids have been left alone due to school closures, suspects luring children with the promises of coronavirus cures: These are some of the crimes police are warning the public about as criminals take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Tokyo police, in March a man approached an elementary-school girl on the street and groped her, saying that he was inspecting her for the coronavirus.

Another concern is con artists, and the best way to deal with suspicious calls and visits is “not to deal with them at all,” advised Mieko Miyata of Nihon Kodomo no Anzen Kyoiku Sogo Kenkyujo, a center focused on the safety of Japan’s youth. Parents should tell children not to worry about answering doorbells or telephones.

Children are not the only targets.

Scammers are using the shortage of face masks to employ phishing links. A widely circulating link on social media leads to a fake online shopping site that collects credit card numbers. Other scams include criminals pretending to be government workers seeking banking information to disperse cash handouts.

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