Fake vaccines online: beware of scams

The NAS Carabinieri blocked two sites advertising and offering fake vaccines for COVID-19 and flu.

In the latter case, subject to the obligation of medical prescription and sold only in pharmacies by a qualified pharmacist.

On the first site, the Authorities noted the sale of 3 alleged vaccines for COVID-19 potentially purchasable from Italy.

The analysis of the second website allowed the Carabinieri to highlight the presence of 2 flu vaccines.

The World Health Organization has indeed issued a “Medical product alert” relating to possible counterfeit matches of these vaccines.


The context of the operation

Is it just an isolated fact?

Unfortunately not.

The operation of the Italian military is the tip of the iceberg of a wider phenomenon.

It is part of an investigation at a European level under the coordination of Europol.

Indeed, it has vanquished an international network selling personal protective equipment and drugs on the web.

In sum, investigators from 19 member countries of the European Union, as well as Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Moldova, Norway, Serbia, the Republic of North Macedonia, Ukraine and the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) blocked about 450 websites and posted under 4,000 monitoring.

After all, hackers and cybercriminals ride the fear generated by the ongoing pandemic to scam network users, companies and institutions.

We have dedicated a blog to a recent vaccine-themed phishing campaign.


Conclusions: fake vaccines and the web

To conclude, given its ability to concealing their online activity, cybercrime uses the web to defraud the public. It promises the sale of drugs and medication online. These are well-oiled scams that use psychological manipulation mechanisms.

Many such scams take place on the Dark Web. Therefore, we advise our readers not to enter this network space without the supervision of an expert.

The Dark Web is in fact full of viruses, malware, spyware and Trojans. Indeed, they are very easy to come into contact with.

Finally, we salute each other with a final appeal, having everyone’s health at heart:

As for vaccinations, we invite you to follow the instructions provided by the Authorities. Please do consult the relative institutional sites, regarding the presence of offers on the web of unauthorized or dubious medicine.