COVID-19 : Shopping scams

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Criminals post fake adverts for products we want and need, like medicines, hygiene products, and test kits.

Criminals often ask for payment upfront and send harmful fake products or nothing at all.

If an offer is too good to be true, then it probably is. Only buy from trusted sources and use safe payment options. 


  • shop with brands you’re familiar with or have used before and check ratings of individual sellers; 
  • use the 3-D Secure™ safety feature and websites that use full authentication. Ask your card issuer for more information;  
  • if you buy something from a private seller, don’t send money upfront. If possible, ask to receive the goods first;
  • don’t send money to someone you don’t know. If a stranger online asks for money, think whether you’d give it to a stranger on the street. 

There is no miracle cure for COVID-19 at the moment. Thousands of websites claim to sell COVID-19 treatments, tests or vaccines. They are fake and dangerous. 

  • What is Europol doing?

    Police and customs work to stop counterfeit medicines trafficking. Europol supported  Operation Pangea, a global operation coordinated by INTERPOL and involved 90 countries worldwide.

  • Want to know more?

    Check our prevention guide: The golden rules of online shopping