Are Coronavirus Fears Fueling a Spike in Fake Online Pharmacies?

It is no secret that not every website purportedly operated by a legitimate online pharmacy is real. For every genuine online operation there are probably multiple fakes. In fact, a recent sting by Interpol shut down dozens of fake sites and more than 100,000 advertising links.

More interesting than the sting operation itself is the number of websites taking advantage of the ongoing coronavirus crisis. According to reports, more than half of the illegal medical devices seized by Interpol were COVID testing kits. It is a shame that unscrupulous entrepreneurs would take advantage of something like COVID. But that is the history of humanity.

Seizing on Consumer Fears

Humankind has a track record of seizing on consumer fears just to make a buck. A case in point was the transition from 1999 to 2000 more than two decades ago. Back then, the world was terrified of something known as the Y2K bug. It turned out to be a big nothing burger.

The Y2K bug was allegedly destined to cause planes to fall from the sky while elevators crashed to the ground. The entire world was supposed to come to a grinding halt thanks to confused computers that assumed they were going back in time when the date switched from ’99 to ’00.

Rest assured there were sleazy operators ready to step in with so-called Y2K bug fixes. A lot of people made an awful lot of money by charging for equipment and software that wasn’t really necessary. They did so by taking advantage of consumer fears.

Ongoing Coronavirus Fears

At the time of writing, it has been 17 months since the first coronavirus cases began showing up in the West. Even though the survival rate is extremely high, the whole world spent the better part of three months living in abject terror. Even today, coronavirus fears abound.

Whether or not such fears are legitimate is not the point of this post. The point is that a certain segment of the entrepreneurial class thinks nothing of taking advantage of those fears to rip people off. Selling fake COVID testing kits says it all.

Unsuspecting consumers rely on those kits to tell them whether or not they are infected. If a false positive is shown, consumers can subject themselves to unnecessary restrictions even as they live in fear of getting sick. On the other hand, a false negative can lead an infected person to spread the virus to others by not curtailing behavior. It is shameful.

A Black Eye on the Industry

It would appear as though coronavirus fears are fueling a spike in illegal online pharmacy activity. Whether that means new operations are popping up or existing operations are dealing in fake testing kits, the effect is the same. Online operators are putting patients at risk. They are also giving an entire industry a black eye.

Legitimate online properties like Canada Pharmacy suffer when these sorts of things happen. Canada Pharmacy was not among the targeted websites. Neither were any of their advertising links. And yet, it wouldn’t be surprising if some consumers were concerned about ordering from them after reading about the Interpol operation.

You’ll find the cheaters and hucksters wherever there is a crisis to be managed. When a hurricane strikes down south, hucksters are waiting to rip off both consumers and FEMA. When the government offered financial assistance to keep small businesses afloat in the summer of 2020, there was no shortage of cheaters taking money for which they did not qualify. And now, it appears as though illegitimate online pharmacies are taking advantage of ongoing coronavirus fears. What a shame.

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