The Interpol global police co-ordination agency on Wednesday issued a warning which stated that organised criminal networks could potentially target the COVID-19 vaccines and may even attempt to sell fake shots of the vaccines.
The France-headquartered organisation issued a global alert to the law enforcement of all its 194 member countries. It has advised them to start preparing for organised crime networks targeting COVID-19 vaccines both offline and online.
"The INTERPOL Orange Notice outlines potential criminal activity in relation to the falsification, theft and illegal advertising of COVID-19 and flu vaccines, with the pandemic having already triggered unprecedented opportunistic and predatory criminal behaviour," read a statement issued by the Interpol.
The statement also mentioned, "It also includes examples of crimes where individuals have been advertising, selling and administering fake vaccines".
Interpol stated that coordination is necessary between law enforcement and health regulatory bodies across the world. This coordination will play a vital role in ensuring the safety of individuals and communities.
Jurgen Stock, Interpol secretary-general, while talking about the issue said, "As governments are preparing to roll out vaccines, criminal organisations are planning to infiltrate or disrupt supply chains. 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."
The organisation had also advised all the members of the pubic to take special care when buying medical equipment and medicine online.
A statement by Interpol said, "In addition to the dangers of ordering potentially life-threatening products, an analysis by the Interpol's Cybercrime Unit revealed that of 3,000 websites associated with online pharmacies suspected of selling illicit medicines and medical devices, around 1,700 contained cyber threats, especially phishing and spamming malware".
"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. Always check with your national health authorities or the World Health Organization for the latest health advice in relation to COVID-19," the organisation added.