Interpol on Wednesday warned authorities worldwide of the threat from organised crime groups during upcoming Covid-19 vaccination campaigns, including fake vaccines and the theft of supplies.
Distribution of three new coronavirus vaccines is set to begin soon and many people will be desperate to protect themselves as quickly as possible, offering ready targets for criminals.
“As governments are preparing to roll out vaccines, criminal organisations are planning to infiltrate or disrupt supply chains,” Juergen Stock, head of the global policing agency based in Lyon, France, said in a statement.
“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,” he said.
The agency had already in July warned about the proliferation of fake Covid-19 testing kits and other medical products as countries worldwide rushed to secure supplies during the pandemic.
Its cybercrime unit recently investigated some 3,000 websites linked to online pharmacies selling illicit drugs and other medical products, of which 1,700 also used phishing techniques to try to trick people into handing over personal data, or other malicious software.
“It is important to be vigilant, be skeptical and be safe, as offers which appear too good to be true usually are,” the agency said.