Mafia, Organized Crime Will Promote Pretend COVID Vaccines
Mafia groups will most likely try to disrupt the spread of the COVID-19 vaccine, the international police organization Interpol warned on Wednesday.
In a statement, the group warned its 194 member countries to be on alert for organized crime networks attempting to infiltrate supply chains to get their hands on the vaccine. They also warned about the sale of fraudulent coronavirus vaccines.
“Criminal networks will also target unsuspecting members of the public via fake websites and false remedies, which could pose a significant risk to their health and even their lives,” said Interpol General Secretary Jürgen Stock.
“It is important that law enforcement be prepared as well as possible for an onslaught of all types of criminal activity related to the COVID-19 vaccine. That is why Interpol has issued this global warning.”
The warning comes as health officials in the US and elsewhere investigate several vaccines that have been developed. The UK became the first western country to officially approve a vaccine on Wednesday, giving the green light to Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine. These studies have shown that COVID-19 is safe and 95% effective.
Last month, Interpol warned of the risk of trafficking real COVID-19 vaccines and advised law enforcement agencies around the world to prepare immediately to prevent such crimes.
“With high demand coupled with limited supply, COVID-19 vaccines will be on par with liquid gold for the organized crime network when one becomes available,” Stock said.
There is also a risk of fake COVID-19 tests being sold, the organization added, as the need for testing is likely to increase as international travel increases again.
Interpol previously warned the public about counterfeit medicines and other medical items that had become of particular concern during the pandemic.
On Wednesday, the group said an analysis they conducted found that “of 3,000 websites related to online pharmacies suspected of selling illegal drugs and medical devices, around 1,700 contained cyber threats, including phishing and spam -Malware “.
Wednesday’s warning also stated that the pandemic has already “sparked unprecedented opportunistic and predatory criminal behavior”.
Cybercrime has increased with businesses and governments being the main targets, according to Interpol. The widespread shift in business operations from offices to online has resulted in a surge in phishing, malware, online fraud and misinformation.
During the pandemic, there were many cases of opportunists taking advantage of the moment to commit fraud and hollow out mask prices.
In several cases, people have been arrested for trying to sell millions of dollars worth of masks that they did not actually own.
In March, right at the start of the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S., law enforcement agencies across the country warned of scammers knocking on people’s doors claiming they were CDC officials and offering to test people for money.