Three-year jail for quacks, hawkers of fake pills

MUSCAT: Despite the fact that there is no proven treatment for COVID-19, there is no shortage of online advertisements that offer cure for the pandemic.

Quack doctors and con men have been exploiting the coronavirus situation to make money by flooding hapless people with pitches for remedies.

While issuing a stern message to the fraudsters with fines and jail, citizens and residents have also been told to “watch out for such messages and calls related to treatment being hawked on different bogus websites”.

By telephone, phishing emails, text messages or social media promotions, the quacks target people trying to buy medical supplies online and have been sending emails offering fake medical support.

The Public Prosecution’s reactions followed the recent exposure of claims circulating about the discovery of a drug to cure coronavirus.

In a statement issued online, the Public Prosecution office said: “The publication of false news, data, or rumours that would affect public order is a crime that carries a sentence of three years imprisonment — and this claim of discovering a medicine to treat coronavirus is false.”

COVID-19 is increasingly being used as a hook to commit fraud – and these offences are likely to increase during the pandemic.

Earlier, the Royal Oman Police also called on people not to pay attention to advertisements that claim to provide treatment for Covid-19.

According to the Directorate General of Inquiries and Investigations, fraudsters have been advertising online with claims to provide treatment for coronavirus.

“Both citizens and residents should exercise caution while doing electronic transactions and not to pay attention to such advertisements,” a statement from the police said.

Fake medicines may contain the wrong or no active ingredient. They may also contain very harmful substances that should not be in medicines.