Thieves tricked a 92-year-old woman into believing her neighbour had died of coronavirus so they could raid her home.
They knocked on her door in Oldham, Greater Manchester, lied about the death and offered to clean the house.
They presented themselves as a "helping hand" police said, but they stole a purse, money and jewellery.
Ch Insp Trevor Harrison, from Greater Manchester Police, described it as an appalling crime.
The victim was not injured, but was left "understandably distraught" by the theft in Grasmere Road.
"This is an absolutely appalling crime, which has taken advantage of a vulnerable and elderly woman at a time where we, as a society, should be looking out for her," said Ch Insp Harrison.