Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Scammers turn to selling phony Covid vaccine

A new scam is taking advantage of the slow rollout of Covid-19 vaccines: fraudsters are posing as officials from pharmaceutical companies and even well-known international nongovernmental organizations to sell vaccines to the public.

The United Nations in Mexico has learned of scammers posing as employees of the UN, the World Health Organization or the Pan American Health Organization.

The scammers offer to sell individual vaccines or, in some cases, to buy them wholesale.

“We have received information about attempts at fraud … even sending [people] supposed contracts to formalize the transaction,” the UN said in a release, emphasizing that none of the three NGOs sells vaccines for Covid-19.

“Don’t let them cheat you. Don’t share your information or make payments solicited using [the organizations’ names] with the purpose of acquiring vaccines,” UN officials said.

Vaccines are only available in Mexico via government programs, the agency said.

UN officials urged anyone who has been a victim of such a scam to report it to the Federal Commission for Protection Against Health Risks (Cofepris).

Vaccines are not the only way criminals have found to cheat and endanger the unsuspecting public via the pandemic. In late January, Mexico City police arrested two people running a scam in which they lured customers who thought they were buying large amounts of sanitization products to a building, where they were then held against their will and ordered to pay large sums of money or have family members do so in exchange for their release.

Source: El Financiero (sp)

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