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Don’t bite: Real COVID vaccines reportedly being sold on the Dark Web

Technology has helped us to keep working and going to school during the pandemic. We can order essentials online and even have virtual visits with our doctors.

You can go online to see if you’re eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine and if so, make an appointment. Tap or click here for some tips on checking the availability of the vaccine in your area.

The pandemic has also resulted in an alarming rise of new scams. From fake PPE to bogus business proposals, thieves are taking advantage of this awful situation. Now, the Dark Web is playing host to illegal vaccine sales. You are always at risk when conducting transactions of this nature, but it gets worse when you put your own health on the line.

Kept in the dark

Oficial vaccines are being distributed, but supply cannot keep up with demand. We saw the same problem with PPE last year, which is still not readily available for everyone who needs it. Many times in these situations, the black market comes into play.

Cybersecurity firm Kaspersky conducted a study into COVID-19 vaccine sales on the Dark Web. A search of 15 marketplaces found advertisements for Pfizer-NioNTech, AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines in addition to some unverified versions. Sellers were mostly from the U.S., France, Germany and the U.K.

Prices ranged from $250 to $1,200 and rose when the high effectiveness of Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines were published. The seller’s preferred form of payment was mostly Bitcoin, with the occasional acceptance of other cryptocurrencies. This makes transactions harder to track.

Some reviewers left positive feedback, which can mean a few things. Were they simply happy with the service and delivery? Can any of these customers verify that their vaccine is the real deal? Before you move on to more questions, take a step back and ask one important one: Are these even real reviews? Tap or click here to learn how to spot fake reviews on Amazon.

Does real mean safe?

Let’s say some of the Dark Web sellers managed to get their hands on legitimate COVID-19 vaccines. It’s not as simple as keeping the bottle refrigerated. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine needs to be stored between -112 and -76 degrees Fahrenheit. This is much colder than any temperature your average freezer can achieve.

The Moderna vaccine must be stored from -13 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit. How do you know that it was stored properly from acquisition to sale? And it must be shipped in a container that can maintain this temperature. All these factors affect the potency of the vaccine.

Risk beyond scam

The biggest danger to getting a vaccine from a shady source comes down to injecting an unknown substance into your body. These vaccines undergo thousands of clinical trials before being released to the public. When you shop on the black market, you don’t know what you’re getting.

The Dark Web is a haven for criminal activity. Illegal firearms, drugs and worse can be purchased there. Many victims of data breaches have their personal information sold on the Dark Web. Are these the people you want to do business with?

Federal authorities are constantly monitoring the Dark Web and you could find yourself caught up in something much bigger than anticipated.

Some thieves have ventured beyond the black market to actively target victims, telling them they are eligible for a vaccine and requesting personal information or payment. Tap or click here to find out how to spot and avoid these scams.

You may have to wait a while to get your vaccine, but it’s better than risking your security and your health. Tap or click here for a site that shows you when you’ll be eligible.

Keep reading

Don’t fall for this COVID-19 vaccine misinformation

This map predicts the next COVID hotspots — Check where you live

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, advice, or health objectives.

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