Criminals often take advantage of misfortunes to profit themselves, and the coronavirus pandemic has not been any different. Since the global spread of the virus, criminals have taken advantage of individuals, businesses, and governments. Now, with the release of COVID-19 vaccines, they are gearing to fill the market with fakes. Here are the top reasons fake COVID-19 vaccines are on the rise.
As the virus cripples significant parts of the economy worldwide, there is a global demand to fight it off and restore the economy. This demand for a cure has given criminals a ripe ground to advertise and sell formulas purported to cure or protect from COVID-19.
This global demand is made worse by the desperation across communities to resume a social life similar to that of the pre-COVID-19 world. This has made it easier for criminals to target unsuspecting people into purchasing “magical” cures.
With the arrival of some vaccines that have proven as much as 95% effective against the virus, people around the world are desperate to get vaccines. This increases the demand for the product.
While the demand for COVID-19 vaccines is high, the current supply does not meet the global demand. Therefore, millions of people are waiting for the vaccine, each trying to get it as fast as possible.
In the real sense, the rollout for these vaccines will take several months to implement. This could leave many citizens impatient and more vulnerable to people offerings of alternative purported solutions.
For example, criminals have set up fake websites even before some of these vaccines are released into the market. These websites contain real names of approved drugs. However, some ask for money, the patient’s health, or financial information in exchange for the vaccine. When criminals get this information, they can use it for financial or medical identity theft.
Some fraudsters even take the fake vaccines to the patients. For example, a fraudster in England who claimed to be from the National Health Service gave a 92-year-old woman a fake vaccine and asked for payment.
The limited supply has also led governments to prioritize the most vulnerable in their distribution of the vaccine. This means that the target has been the elderly, front-line healthcare workers, and individuals predisposed to contracting and developing severe COVID-19 symptoms.
This gap between the demand and supply has fueled the growth of COVID-19 vaccine scams.
The EU and North America are currently facing problems with distribution. This affects the rollout and administration of the vaccine. Some of these delays are due to logistical problems while some are due to delayed shipments from the manufacturers.
Such delays present criminals with an opportunity to sell off “exclusive” supplies of “remaining” vaccines to the unsuspecting public.
Criminals will remain opportunistic and will continue to look for ways to infiltrate the supply of COVID-19 vaccines, whether through fake websites, fake information, phishing scams, and even in-person fraud. You can protect yourself by finding information from verified sources only.
Use the official websites of your country’s healthcare body, ensuring that the domain name is spelled correctly. At RKN Global, we also emphasize the importance of notifying local law enforcement if you notice suspicious activity or are the victim of a COVID-19 vaccine scam.