As the COVID-19 vaccine nears Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in the U.S., federal investigators are warning about counterfeit vaccines.
Department of Homeland Security officials said criminals are looking to take advantage of the pandemic by attempting to sell unapproved treatments and prevention for COVID-19. Investigators have already identified 60,000 websites suspected of fraudulent activity.
Back in April, the feds launched Operation Stolen Promise to combat such coronavirus-related fraud.
“It was a global strategy that brought together our Global Trade Investigations division, our financial division, cybercrimes division as well as our international operations to combat the illicit activity relating to COVID-19 fraud,” said Steve Francis, Director of National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center.
As the world focuses on a potential #COVID19 vaccine, ICE’s #HSI focuses on stopping those who intend to fill the marketplace with counterfeit treatments. Learn more about Operation Stolen Promise 2.0: https://t.co/yohpBm0xOj pic.twitter.com/7ZIOPjcsK5— ICE (@ICEgov) November 30, 2020
Investigators are studying how the vaccine will be packaged and creating a mass database to identify fakes.