A National Crime Agency boss has stated that he is expecting heartless criminals will try to sell fake coronavirus or COVID-19 vaccines when real ones are rolled out, as per reports. The fraudsters have already peddled fake PPE and COVID-19 test kits amid the pandemic as people increasingly started buying products online.
Reports of fraud relating to online shopping have increased during the pandemic, the NCA National Economic Crime Centre director-general Graeme Biggar said. Speaking during a webinar held by the Resilence First Group he mentioned that people have tried to scam the Government furlough schemes and business relief, as reported by the Independent.
COVID-19 Vaccine Fraud
The warning comes after the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) stated that cyberattacks by Russia and other nations present an ongoing threat to the efforts of the UK for developing a vaccine for the deadly disease. Biggar said that the criminals were making use of COVID-19 as a hook to try different kinds of frauds. He said, "The new emerging threat will be around vaccine fraud. We haven't seen much of that yet but we absolutely expect when vaccines begin to roll out that there will be people offering fake vaccines. We are trying to get ahead of that trend now."
Paul Chichester, who is the director of operations at NCSC said the hostile countries were focused on vaccine research while the criminal groups were also targeting the hospitals and healthcare bodies. Earlier in the month, he had said that it is an ongoing threat. "We know states are interested in a variety of elements of the vaccine work – the research behind it is part of that but also knowledge around the success, the trial data," he said.
"It's also about the likelihood of the supply chain being successful and a variety of different elements of the vaccine as we move from doing the research to the delivery and supply of it. States are trying to understand how the UK is prepared for that," he added.
The drug giant Pfizer made an announcement this week that it believes its coronavirus vaccine is 90 percent effective against the deadly disease. The government of the UK stated that if approved, the delivery of the vaccine from Belgium is not going to get affected by any delays caused due to Brexit from January 1.