Beware of online pharmacies selling Covid vaccines: Interpol
First Published Dec 3, 2020, 10:47 AM IST
Interpol has issued a global alert to law enforcement across its 194 member countries warning them to prepare for organized crime networks targeting COVID-19 vaccines, both physically and online.
Interpol has put out an Orange Notice which outlines potential criminal activity in relation to the falsification, theft and illegal advertising of COVID-19 and flu vaccines.
The Interpol believes that the pandemic has already triggered unprecedented opportunistic and predatory criminal behaviour. The agency cited instances of crimes where individuals have been advertising, selling and administering fake vaccines.
In a statement, the Interpol said: "As a number of COVID-19 vaccines come closer to approval and global distribution, ensuring the safety of the supply chain and identifying illicit websites selling fake products will be essential."
According to Secretary General Jürgen Stock, "Criminal networks will also be targeting unsuspecting members of the public via fake websites and false cures, which could pose a significant risk to their health, even their lives."
"It is essential that law enforcement is as prepared as possible for what will be an onslaught of all types of criminal activity linked to the COVID-19 vaccine, which is why INTERPOL has issued this global warning," he added.
The Interpol statement noted that in addition to the dangers of ordering potentially life-threatening products, an analysis by the Interpol's Cybercrime Unit revealed that of 3,000 websites associated with online pharmacies suspected of selling illicit medicines and medical devices, around 1,700 contained cyber threats, especially phishing and spamming malware.
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