As the United States is inching closer to getting a COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has issued a warning to US citizens concerning possible scams and frauds.
FBI Warns of Possible COVID-19 Vaccine Scams
According to a report by ABC News, Timothy Thibault, the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of FBI Washington Field Office, said that there could be initial chaos with the distribution of the vaccine after it has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and that scammers could use this to their advantage to carry out fraudulent acts.
"What we would say to the public is to be leery of and be on guard for scams related to telemarketing, malicious websites, or emails where people are taking advantage of the initial supply-and-demand problem," the FBI official said.
Besides the FBI, the European Union's law enforcement arm EUROPOL has also issued the same warning, this time focusing on possible fake COVID-19 vaccines that could hit the market.
Fake Vaccines and Bad Actors
Based on the report, the World Health Organization (WHO) found fake flu vaccines in Mexico in October, so the European law enforcement is worried that a similar scenario will happen with the imminent arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine, especially as it will definitely be a hot commodity amid the pandemic.
This could be extremely dangerous as fake vaccines "represent a significant public health threat," seeing as they are ineffective against the novel coronavirus disease.
Moreover, these fake vaccines could be toxic at worst, seeing as officials are unsure how they are made and what they are made with.
Additionally, the underground laboratories that make them likely do not have hygiene standards.
Thibault also stressed out that there will "certainly" be bad actors, saying, "Bad actors will reach out to people and may take advantage of their desperation to get the vaccine early."
Furthermore, the FBI official reiterated that no American citizen will have to pay for the COVID-19 shot, and if someone tells them otherwise, they should instantly be wary and that these people are wrong.
According to Thibault, these scammers would likely be "carried out quickly," as he said that fraudsters would know that such types of scams have a time limit as more legitimate vaccines are distributed around the nation.
Thibault encouraged victims of such frauds to come forward and report the incident.
According to him, tons of people feel embarrassed for falling for such schemes that they don't report the incident, but it is vital to prevent such scams from happening again.
Hackers and cybercriminals are already targeting the COVID-19 vaccine even before it has been distributed.
Recently, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) confirmed that it had been hit by a cyberattack from hackers who were targeting the documents related to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, according to a report by BBC.
Fortunately, the cyberattack will not be affecting BioNTech's timeline with the approval and mass distribution of the vaccine in the US, the United Kingdom, and beyond.
This article is owned by Tech Times
Written by: Nhx Tingson