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Criminals Capitalizing On People's Desperation For COVID-19 Vaccine On Dark Web, Pittsburgh FBI Says

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- If you're tired of waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, why not just leapfrog the line and overnight a dose to your front door?

That's the tempting offer allegedly available right now on the dark web.

"Initially, it was designed with good intentions. But there have been a lot of criminals that have taken advantage of that and put up illicit markets," said Pittsburgh FBI Supervisory Special Agent Steve Lampo.

He says there are all kinds of stuff for sale on the dark web. Things like drugs, stolen weapons, fake IDs, and now doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Criminals are capitalizing on people's desperation and fear of waiting any longer to get their shot.

dark web coronavirus
(Photo Credit: KDKA)

"The concern here is if you buy this, if you pay this money, is something actually going to be sent to you? And if something is sent, is the thing that's on the outside of the bottle what's really inside the bottle? And then you're going to put this in your body? So that's a real danger," says Lampo.

And the FBI says vaccine doses aren't the only concern.

"Sooner or later, we will see some vaccine cards being sold on the dark web," says Lampo.

It's an easy way for someone else to falsely show they received a shot.

"People are desperate at this point to try to get a vaccine. The criminals are aware of that and they're eager to take advantage of that," Lampo said.

So even if waiting to get the vaccine through a legitimate clinic feels slow, Lampo says it's undeniably safer.

"If I go to my local pharmacy, I know the person I'm dealing with. They've got a name tag. I know where the pharmacy's headquarters is and I can write to them or call them if I have a problem. You can't do that here," Lampo said.

The FBI currently has a team of special agents working to shut down dark web marketplaces. Authorities say anyone caught selling COVID-19 vaccines on the dark web could face serious jail time.

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