The Covid Fraud scourge

Covid has unleashed a scourge of fraud and economic abuse on a global scale. This website will document it and its mutation as the pandemic enters a new phase of management and control. It will also look at how law enforcement handles the scourge and how it seeks to bring the public notice of the risks it presents.

15 February 2021

OLAF warns against fraudsters offering COVID-19 vaccines

The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) has warned governments to be on their guard against offers to provide them with COVID-19 vaccines. These offers are very often fake, and should be reported.

Ville Itälä, Director-General of OLAF, said: “We are hearing reports of fraudsters offering to sell vaccines to governments across the EU. These offers come in many different forms. For example, fraudsters may offer to sell large quantities of vaccines, deliver a sample in order to pocket the first advance payment and then vanish with the money. They may deliver batches of fake vaccines. Or they falsely may purport to represent legitimate business and claim to be in the possession of or have access to vaccines.

OLAF says it has added an extra layer to its ongoing inquiry into fake COVID -19 protection products, with the aim of tackling an illicit trade of COVID-19 vaccines possibly carried out by illegally importing them into the EU territory and/or through the marketing of counterfeit medicines. 

On 19 March 2020 the European Anti-Fraud Office opened an official inquiry into the illicit trade of face masks, medical devices, disinfectants, sanitisers, medicines and test kits linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. So far, OLAF’s investigation has led to the identification of over 1,000 suspicious operators and to the seizure or detention of over 14 million items. These include, for example, units of hand sanitizers containing a high volume of methanol, substandard face masks and fake test kits. No seizures of fake vaccines have been recorded as yet.

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