Organized crime networks are reportedly targeting COVID-19 vaccines, according to a global alert from Interpol on Wednesday.
What are the details?
On Wednesday morning, Newsweek reported that organized crime networks are allegedly trying to get their hands on COVID-19 vaccines.
Interpol earlier in the day announced a global alert, warning 194 countries across the globe to “prepare for organized crime networks targeting COVID-19 vaccines, both physically and online.”
Jürgen Stock, Interpol’s secretary general, said that such organizations are allegedly planning to “infiltrate or disrupt supply chains” ahead of any coronavirus vaccine releases.
“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,” Stock said in a statement on the alert.
The notice outlined any “potential criminal activity in relation to the falsification, theft, and illegal advertising of COVID-19 and flu vaccines,” where “individuals have been advertising, selling, and administering fake vaccines.”
“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,” Stock’s message added.
“To avoid falling victim to online scams, it is important to be vigilant, be skeptical and be safe, as offers which appear too good to be true usually are,” the organization said in a statement. “Always check with your national health authorities or the World Health Organization for the latest health advice in relation to COVID-19.”
Interpol also noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has “already triggered unprecedented opportunistic and predatory criminal behavior,” and noted that it is “essential that law enforcement is as prepared as possible” for imminent “onslaught of all types of criminal activity.”
Vaccines aren’t the only items at risk. Interpol notes that fraudulent and falsified testing kits are also predicted to appear in coming weeks and months.
The World Health Organization, according to Newsweek, reported that there are at least 212 COVID-19 vaccines in development worldwide.