As criminals exploit COVID-19 to make money, INTERPOL is supporting police to fight these crimes.
The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak that began in late 2019 evolved so rapidly and globally that it was qualified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Law enforcement services play a crucial role in contributing to the effort to control the disease, promoting safer communities, and fighting criminals who take advantage of the outbreak.
At INTERPOL, we are working 24/7 to support police officers in our member countries as they face these unprecedented challenges.
Criminals are exploiting the current situation to find new ways to make money. They are increasing and diversifying their activities through a wide range of crimes and scams which exploit the fear and uncertainty surrounding the virus.
In particular, we are seeing an increase in counterfeit medical products, fraud and cybercrime. While INTERPOL will support police around the world in countering these crimes, we also encourage the general public to be vigilant and follow our advice on how to stay safe.
Law enforcement guidelines
We have published international guidelines in order to enhance the safety and effectiveness of law enforcement and first responder support in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With police routinely running into dangerous situations to protect their communities, the guidelines provide information on how officers can protect themselves and their families. They also outline the various roles carried out by law enforcement during a pandemic, such as border control, maintaining public order, and assisting national health authorities in identifying cases and their origin.
Shaped in accordance with international best practices, the guidelines are intended to be considered by law enforcement agencies as part of a response strategy to the outbreak in line with national public health authorities.
INTERPOL Assessment Reports
With COVID-19 drastically changing the law enforcement landscape, we have issued a series of global threat assessments on crimes and policing.
The reports draw on expertise and knowledge from police in our member countries, and are regularly updated as new threats emerge. Generally produced for law enforcement only, public versions made available in certain cases.
Law enforcement only reports:
- NEWS: INTERPOL – Terrorist groups using COVID-19 to reinforce power and influence – 21 December 2020
- NEWS: Preventing crime and protecting police: INTERPOL’s COVID-19 global threat assessment - 6 April 2020
- NEWS: COVID-19 impact on migrant smuggling and human trafficking - 11 June 2020
INTERPOL Orange Notices
In December 2020, we issued an Orange Notice to warn police of the threat to COVID-19 vaccines from organized crime networks.
An Orange Notice is used to alert police around the world to an event, a person, an object or a process representing a serious and imminent threat to public safety. In this instance, the Notice outlined the risks of falsification, theft and illegal advertising of COVID-19 and flu vaccines.
- NEWS: INTERPOL warns of organized crime threat to COVID-19 vaccines - 2 December 2020
Continued global support
We will continue to provide whatever support is necessary to police in our member countries, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Key to this support is I-24/7, our secure global communications system, along with our colour-coded system of Notices that enables countries to share alerts and requests for information worldwide. Staff at our Command and Coordination Centre are available round-the-clock, while our specialized units ensure the latest trends and threats are shared with the law enforcement community worldwide.
Criminals don’t take breaks. Even as everything around us is being put on hold, they are looking for new ways to generate profits
Fake medicines can be counterfeit, contaminated or mislabelled. Don’t take the chance.
Follow some common sense rules to reduce your chance of being a victim of financial crime.