Monday, 23 March 2020
Criminals are deliberately trying to spread unrest around the new coronavirus (Covid-19) in Belgium, to scam consumers online, the federal police warned.
Malicious websites are selling fake medicines, medical supplies, mouth masks and food supplements, according to a press release by the federal police, which is calling on people to only buy medical products from authorised pharmacies.
“As a result of the current coronavirus crisis, many citizens have concerns or a feeling of anxiety. Some criminals take advantage of this to scam consumers online, for example by selling fake medicines, medical supplies and food supplements,” the police said. “All kinds of products are offered online, with the promise that they will protect you against the coronavirus or cure you of it,” they added.
The products that are offered are, among others, mouth masks, unauthorised vaccines, air cleaners, food supplements and essential oils. However, their efficacy has often not been proven, and the products may even have harmful side effects.
A recent study by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the European Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows that medicines are ranked 10th in the list of most popular counterfeit products, with a total value of $4.4 billion.
Online pharmacies approved by the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products (FAMHP) can be found on a list on the agency’s website.
The Brussels Times