The COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak that began in late 2019 evolved so rapidly and globally that it was qualified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). Law enforcement services play a crucial role in contributing to the effort to control the disease, promoting safer communities, and fighting criminals who take advantage of the outbreak.
At INTERPOL ICP CTOC, we are working 24/7 to support police officers and citizens as they face these new and unprecedented challenges.
As the COVID-19 Coronavirus spreads around the world, public anxiety grows. Citizens everywhere are looking for ways to keep themselves and their families safe and healthy. Unfortunately, criminals are preying on this vulnerability through a wide range of frauds, scams and crimes which exploit the fear and uncertainty surrounding the virus.
There are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself. Be on the alert for counterfeit medical products, fraud and cybercrime.
Beware of Fake Medicines
Rather than making you better, some medicines can in fact be bad for you. Whatever your illness, it’s important to get your medicines from a government-regulated source. This applies to all types of medicines for all types of conditions, but has taken on a new dimension with the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.
Fake medicines can be counterfeit, contaminated, expired or mislabeled. Don’t take the health risk!
With demand for personal protection and hygiene products growing exponentially, criminals are seeking to make a profit by selling substandard or counterfeit items such as surgical masks, and even outright fake ‘coronavirus medicine’.
False claims abound of medicines which can protect against, or even cure, the virus. But when purchasing these, you do not know what sort of medicine you are actually receiving or if it is safe to consume. What sounds like a cure could actually be harmful to your health.
Beware of Cybercrime
Cybercriminals are attacking the computer networks and systems of individuals, businesses and even global organizations at a time when cyber defences might be lowered due to the shift of focus to the health crisis.
There has been a marked increase in cybercrime incidents being tailored around aspects of the coronavirus to target organizations and unsuspecting victims. Malicious domains, malware and ransomware are among the different types of cyberattack being reported.
Beware of Fraud and Scams
SMS and telephone fraud and phishing are on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic, with criminals tailoring their techniques to the current situation.
Scams linked to the virus include:
- SMS and Telephone fraud – criminals randomly may call victims pretending to be clinic or hospital officials, who claim that a relative of the victim has fallen sick with the virus and request payments for medical treatment;
- Email Phishing – email and SMS messages claiming to be from national or global health authorities, with the aim of tricking victims to provide personal credentials or payment details, or to open an attachment containing malware.
#StayHome and #WearMask
If your government has asked you to #StayHome, please do so. Don’t put yourself or others at risk. Also please always #WearMask while in public.
You can help stopping the Corona virus together with law enforcement officials and other first-responders by respecting government measures against the spread of COVID-19.