A black market in phony COVID-19 vaccinations and front of the line scams are already drawing the attention of Europe’s Interpol Law Enforcement Agency. An alert has been issued to law enforcement agencies globally. Interpol is warning that organized crime networks may try to sell fake COVID-19 vaccines or steal the real ones to sell to people willing to pay to get the head of the line.
I grew up in New York City and learned at an early age that when an opportunity for a new scam occurred, the crime families in the city and every two-bit crook would jump on the opportunity to steal every penny they could. While the Italian and the Irish mobs have been decimated in the last 30 years – there are still plenty of organized crime organizations and crooks that will recognize and take advantage of the money-making opportunity coronavirus vaccines will represent.
Interpol global police coordination agency, based in France, announced today that it is issuing an orange alert to police forces in its 194 member countries. A warning they should be prepared for organized crime and other criminals to target desperate people wanting to receive coronavirus vaccines via phony or inflated priced offers will be offered in-person and online.
Interpol said the pandemic had already triggered “unprecedented opportunistic and predatory criminal behavior.” It warned of a new wave of criminal activity “in relation to the falsification, theft and illegal advertising of COVID-19 vaccines” is already starting to get underway.
According to several sources, between 18 and 72 million people are currently infected with the coronavirus, with well over 100,000 in serious or critical condition. There are between 5 million and as many as 20 million active cases in the United States, with over 25,000 in serious or critical condition.
Interpol urged for close coordination between health regulators and law enforcement as vaccines come closer for approval and distribution. They are coordinating this effort to ensure the safety of the supply chain and identify illicit websites, newspaper, and social media posts offering and selling both fake and genuine shots at sky-high prices designed to take advantage of consumers not wanting to wait for their turn for the vaccination.
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All one has to do is watch the movie “Good Fellas” to recognize that as countries around the world prepare to roll out mass vaccination programs.
Interpol secretary-general Jürgen Stock said today as governments prepare to, criminals already…
“Plan to infiltrate or disrupt supply chains, and also target the public via fake websites and false cures that 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.”
Interpol also said…
“Criminals were also highly likely to start parallel production and distribution of “unauthorized and falsified” coronavirus testing kits that international travel resumes and airlines and immigration authorities increasingly demand passengers produce a negative test result.”
Interpol is also warning the public to take special care when searching for medical equipment or medicines online. It says people buying these online could face danger not just from potentially life-threatening products but also from cyber-threats.
An analysis by Interpol’s cybercrimes unit shows that there are currently about 3,000 online pharmaceuticals websites suspected of selling illicit products. More than 1,700 of these websites contained phishing or spamming malware. Interpol urges…
“It is important to be vigilant, skeptical and safe, as offers which appear too good to be true usually are.”
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