• Rutvik Hajare

Fake Products & eCommerce Fraud in 2020

In 2020 due to the COVID-19 the mostly Fake products and ecommers fraud are happened in the medical sector which tends to the high money loss as well as the health loss.

Fake medical products related to COVID-19:

Counterfeit face-masks, substandard or low standard hand sanitizers and unauthorised antiviral medication were all seized under Operation Pangea XIII, which saw police, customs and health regulatory authorities from 90 countries take part in collective action against the illicit online sale of medicines and medical products.

This operation is resulted in the in 121 arrests worldwide and the seizure of potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals more than $14 million.

Crashing in the COVID-19:

The outbreak of COVID-19 virus has offered an opportunity for fast cash and more transaction as it's need for the medical, as criminal take advantages of the high market demand for personal protection and hygiene products.

The lot of agencies of Law enforcement taking part in operation pangea found 2000 online links advertising items related to COVID-19. of these, counterfeit surgical masks , medicines were the medical device most commonly sold online.

These agencies seizure of more than 34000 duplicate and substandard masks, "corona spray","coronavirus packages" or "coronavirus medicine" reveals only the tip of the iceberg regarding this new trend in counterfeiting.

“Once again, Operation Pangea shows that criminals will stop at nothing to make a profit. The illicit trade in such counterfeit medical items during a public health crisis shows their total disregard for people’s well being, or their lives,” said Jürgen Stock, INTERPOL’s Secretary General. This is happening in every country.

For eg. In india the medical store owner sell the counterfeit masks at rate of Rs. 200 per mask where the actually that masks worth is Rs.10

Website Closures:

This operation is reported an increase of about 18% in seizures of unauthorised and duplicates medicines, and the increase of about the 100% in seizures of the unauthorised harmful and substandard alcoholic sanitizers.

The authorities inspected more than 3,26,000 packages if which more than 48,000 were seized bu customs and regulatory authorities.

And this number of fraud and the fake products are still going increasing, until it's completely reviled! so the number of the fake products and frauds are don't be consider the right number.

Overall, authorities seized around 4.4 million units of illicit pharmaceuticals worldwide. Among them were:

  • erectile dysfunction pills

  • anti-cancer medication

  • hypnotic and sedative agents

  • anabolic steroids

  • analgesics/painkillers

  • nervous system agents

  • dermatological agents

  • vitamins.

Information received from the participating countries during the operation points to a considerable decrease in international shipments of small parcels (by about 40 per cent), probably due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The operation has already closed down more than 2,500 web links, including websites, social media pages, online marketplaces and online adverts for illicit pharmaceuticals with a similar number in the process of being closed down.

The combined efforts of the authorities disrupted the activities of 37 organised crime groups.

Raising public awareness of the risks:

Under Operation Pangea XIII, INTERPOL member countries also reached out to the general public – through videos, brochures, exhibitions and talks at hospitals and schools – to raise awareness of the dangers of buying pharmaceuticals from unregulated online sources.


“As reducing demand is an important aspect in Operation Pangea, Malaysia is strongly promoting awareness activities to the public. These include the distribution of car stickers, video broadcasts via electronic billboards as well as radio and television interviews”, said Norlida Binti Abdul Rahman, Senior Principal Assistant Director, Ministry of Health, Malaysia.

Fake medicines often contain the wrong amount of active ingredient (too little, too much, or none at all). In other cases, the medicines may be genuine but have been stolen and then badly stored or may have expired. This means they could be ineffective or contaminated.

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