Representation in Cyprus

Coronavirus: Protecting you against online fraud

(Text of the President’s message)

24/03/2020

https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-187195 - Video message from President von der Leyen

“To reduce the spread of the coronavirus, many Europeans simply need to stay at home. As a result, people telework and spend much time online. Unfortunately, criminals take advantage of this. They follow us online and exploit our concerns about the coronavirus. Our fear becomes their business opportunity.  

The amount of cybercrime in the EU has increased. The number of fake medicines, disinfection sprays or miracle cures sold online is staggering. We work with the national governments and the EU agencies to address this and to keep people safe. 

Our police cooperation agency, Europol has supported in the past weeks a global operation against trafficking in counterfeit medicines. More than 4.4 million units of illicit pharmaceuticals were seized worldwide. 37 organised crime groups were dismantled, 121 arrests were made. 2,500 links – websites, social media, online marketplaces, adverts – were taken down.  

Our European Union agencies provide advice about how you can protect yourself. Please check whether websites are really maintained by a trustworthy entity.  

If a vaccine against the coronavirus is developed, your government and public institutions in general will announce it. You will know about it from trustworthy source. Until then, we will continue working closely with the national governments, with the help of our agencies, to keep dangerous counterfeit medicine out of your way.”