The new coronavirus variant is prompting a renewed sense of urgency among official entities and organizations orchestrating the vaccine rollout. In Britain, the coronavirus vaccine distribution efforts have hit a few roadblocks. “The situation could be best described as confused,” reports ZDNet. ​Before you scroll away to more optimistic articles, here’s why that confusion is significant.

The British vaccine distribution efforts

Vaccine distribution is expected to proceed in batches. The highest-risk groups are intended to receive the vaccine first. Among the front running group of intended vaccine recipients, letters were sent to some individuals, but not all individuals, informing them of their vaccine appointment options.

Some individuals initially received notices of appointments for a second dose, only to later receive correspondence saying that their second appointment has been canceled in favor of providing first-doses to as many individuals as possible.

The curse that is confusion

Confusion amidst a pandemic is problematic for several reasons; most obviously, the panic and logistical hurdles interrupt processes, leading to delays and a potential increase in coronavirus cases.

Confusion is also problematic from the standpoint that it’s an ideal cover for criminal operations. Interpol announced that it expected an “onslaught of all types of criminal activity linked to the COVID-19 vaccine”.

Here’s what has officials worried

  • Organized crime groups may attempt to carjack trucks containing the vaccine. Think about it—The vaccine is the most valuable asset on the planet right now. It’s more valuable than gold, precious metals, or capital investments.
  • Cyber criminals are soliciting fake vaccines on dubious websites. Check Point researchers discovered that these vendors want as much as $300 in cryptocurrency for these spoofed vaccines.
  • Scam artists are cold calling targets. Individuals have received phone calls asking them to press a number on their keypad in order to reserve a coronavirus vaccine appointment. The caller/robo message then prompts individuals to enter their banking details.
  • Coronavirus-related text messages are trending. People have reported fake texts about online coronavirus tests, stimulus payments, lockdown fines, health supplements for the coronavirus, financial support and more.
  • Vaccine scams are prevalent on social media. Ads and fake friends could misinform social media users.

Vaccine scams and how to avoid falling for them

  • The real coronavirus vaccine will be distributed to individuals free of cost. Any organization or individual that attempts to assert otherwise is likely tangled up in vaccine scams.
  • Avoid purchasing vaccines, medical equipment or treatments from unknown online vendors. Products purchased online from third-parties are not guaranteed to be safe or effective.
  • If the message tries to elicit panic or a sense of heightened urgency, it’s likely a scam.
  • Spelling errors, extra spaces between words and grammatical errors are also common signs of scams.
  • Anyone who arrives at your door selling, offering or bullying you about vaccines is a vaccine scam artist.
  • Turn to trusted sources, such as physicians and federal agency web pages, for reliable information about getting a coronavirus vaccine.
  • Groups that offer to ship vaccines for payment are also perpetuating vaccine scams.

For more on this story, visit ZDNet. For more on vaccine scams, see Cyber Talk’s past coverage.