Criminals cashing in on individuals’s desperation for COVID-19 vaccines on the darkish internet, says the FBI in Pittsburgh – CBS Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – If you’re tired of waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, why not just skip the line and have a dose delivered to your doorstep overnight?
This is the tempting offer that is said to be available right now on the dark internet.
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“It was originally designed with good intentions. But there were a lot of criminals who took advantage of it and built illegal markets, ”said Steve Lampo, FBI special agent for regulatory agencies in Pittsburgh.
He says there are all kinds of things for sale on the dark internet. Things like drugs, stolen guns, fake IDs, and now doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Criminals take advantage of people’s desperation and fear to wait longer for their shot.
“The concern here is, if you buy this, if you pay this money, will you actually be sent anything? And when something is sent, is what is on the outside of the bottle really in the bottle? And then are you going to put that in your body? So that’s a real danger, ”says Lampo.
And the FBI says vaccine doses aren’t the only problem.
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“Sooner or later some vaccination cards will be sold on the dark internet,” says Lampo.
It’s an easy way for others to falsely show they received a shot.
“People are desperate to get a vaccine at this point. The criminals are aware of this and absolutely want to take advantage of it, ”said Lampo.
Even if it feels slow waiting for the vaccine to be brought through a legitimate clinic, Lampo says it is undoubtedly safer to do so.
“When I go to my local pharmacy, I know the person I am dealing with. They have a name tag. I know where the pharmacy’s head office is and I can text or call them if I have a problem. You can’t do that here, ‘said Lampo.
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The FBI currently has a team of special agents working to shut down dark web marketplaces. Authorities say anyone caught selling COVID-19 vaccines online could face a harsh prison sentence.