Gangs Hit UK With Fake Swine Flu Drugs
8:08am UK, Monday November 16, 2009
Andy Jack, Sky News Online
Russian criminal gangs are making millions by selling counterfeit Tamiflu online to paranoid Britons.
Criminal gangs have been preying on fears of drug shortages
People anxious they may not be able to obtain the drug through the NHS may be lining the pockets of overseas conmen, it is claimed.
Research by computer security firm Sophos found that organised criminal networks are driving online shoppers to fake virtual pharmacies in return for a share of the profits.
Investigators believe thousands of fraudsters, mostly based in Russia, work around the clock to promote the medicines which could be counterfeit or substandard.
They found the top five countries trying to purchase Tamiflu and other drugs are the US, Germany, UK, Canada and France.
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Graham Cluley, of Sophos, said: "The criminal gangs working behind the scenes at fake internet pharmacies are putting their customers' health, personal information and credit card details at risk.
"They have no problem breaking the law to promote these websites, so you can be sure they'll have no qualms in exploiting your confidential data or selling you medications which may put your life in danger.
"If you think you need medication go to your real doctor, and stay away from quacks on the internet."
Sophos said crime gangs can earn between £10,000 and £60,000 every day and continuing concerns about swine flu could drive their profits even higher.
The Department of Health said: "There's no need to jump the queue or pay for antivirals. They are free on the NHS and being offered to all who need them."
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