The International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) has raised the alarm over plans to sell fake COVID-19 vaccines, thereby disrupting the supply chain and endangering lives.
Globally, 65 million COVID-19 cases have been recorded with nearly 1.5 million deaths.
In Nigeria, over 67,000 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed with more than 1,100 deaths according to data from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
Successes have been recorded on vaccine production globally, as the United Kingdom has approved the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for public use.
On Wednesday, in a statement titled “Interpol Warns of Organised Crime Threat to COVID-19 Vaccines”, Jürgen Stock, Interpol secretary-general, said law enforcement agencies in various countries must be at alert.
He said the criminal gangs will target unsuspecting members of the public via fake websites and false cures.
“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.
“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.”
The global police organisation said an analysis by its 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.
It urged members of the public to adopt caution during online searches for medical equipment or medicines.