Conmen in Istanbul's old town have been charging more than 100 Turkish Liras per tourist to give them free COVID-19 safety codes to be used for public transportation cards, Demirören News Agency reported on July 13.
These unique codes provided by the state show people's health records and are used to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infections throughout the pandemic.
Named after the Health Ministry mobile application where they first became available, HES codes (short for "Hayat Eve Sığar," Ankara's motto in the fight against COVID-19) are available on the app and on the government's online services portal.
HES codes were also made mandatory to be used for transportation cards, and conmen seized the opportunity to charge tourists who couldn't use public transportation because they hadn't fulfilled the requirement.
One conman claimed that he hadn't asked the tourists for money and that they had offered him more than 100 Turkish Liras for getting the code.
Meanwhile, tourist Sabir Salahi said that he had been asked by the conmen up to 150 liras to get his code matched to his public transportation card.
Police fined a man named Servet Ö. for charging tourists for the code assignment last week.