Interpol: Criminal Gangs Could Try to Sell Fake Coronavirus Vaccines

A logo at the newly completed Interpol Global Complex for Innovation building is seen during the inauguration opening ceremony in Singapore on April 13, 2015. The Interpol Global Centre for Innovation opened its doors with officials hoping it will strengthen global efforts to fight increasingly tech-savvy international criminals. AFP PHOTO …

The international police coordination agency Interpol has warned that organised criminal gangs could attempt to sell fake versions of the coronavirus vaccine.

“As governments are preparing to roll out vaccines, criminal organisations are planning to infiltrate or disrupt supply chains,” Interpol secretary-general Juergen Stock said on Wednesday.

“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 added, according to Reuters.

The warning comes after criminals have sought to profit from the pandemic for much of the year by various means.

Europe’s police agency Europol reported similar trends to Interpol earlier this year and claimed that child sex abuse online had also increased during the pandemic.

“The sale of counterfeit and/or sub-standard goods on and offline is booming in the pandemic economy,” the agency said.

In France, two underage migrant criminals robbed or attempted to rob 28 pharmacies in and around the city of Bordeaux in April, with some of the pharmacies being burgled more than once.

Cyberattacks have also increased during the pandemic, with Interpol reporting in August that online scams and phishing schemes had exploded in number and frequency. Fake offers of medicine or food were especially common in Asia and the Middle East, according to the agency.

In Italy, mafia groups looked to profit from the pandemic by offering loan-shark coronavirus “relief” loans to small businesses and citizens in April.

A Roma mafia boss in Greece was caught stockpiling antiseptic gel at a warehouse near Athens before the police came and seized the 11 tonnes of gel which had been hidden after being imported from Cyprus.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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