US Authorities seize a Coronavirus website after owner tries to sell the domain in exchange for bitcoin

The US authorities revealed that the unidentified owner of coronavirus.org tried to sell the domain to an undercover agent with the Department of Homeland Security’s Criminal Investigations unit. The authorities said they wanted to use the site to sell fake COVID-19 testing kits, a plan the owner reportedly said was “genius.”

coronaprevention.org website shows seized by US Departments of Homeland Security and Justice - Credits: coronaprevention.org
coronaprevention.org website shows that the webstie has been seized by US Departments of Homeland Security and Justice – Credits: coronaprevention.org

According to the warrant, the owner of coronaprevention.org listed the domain for sale on a forum that focuses on content related to and populated by users interested in hacking and hijacking online accounts. This happened a day after the US President declared a national emergency due to COVID 19. 

The owner asked for $500 in bitcoin for the domain. 

According to the report, the undercover reached out, and the owner of coronavirus.org allegedly charged $500 payable in bitcoin for the domain. Usually, such domain names are closer to 20$, the report revealed. The agent ultimately sent a partial payment to an undisclosed bitcoin address. The Department of Justice announced that it had disrupted hundreds of domains that were being used to shill scams related to coronavirus pandemic. However, the list of domain names that were seized is not available.

 

FBI warned against rising in crypto scams related to coronavirus.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation earlier warned that fraudsters are leveraging increased fear and uncertainty during the time of pandemic to scam people off their money. The FBI warned an increase in the number of crypto scams that are related to coronavirus pandemic. Scammers are tailoring their pitch to the current situation and even pose as newly-remote workers collecting “donations” via email, or posing as charities that accept cryptocurrency, which is a major red flag, according to the FBI. Authorities advised people to verify the legitimacy of vendors, stay away from their bank accounts, and report blackmail and extortion attempts to law enforcement. 

Currently, over 2.8 million people have been infected with COVID 19, and over 197,000 people have lost their lives around the world. The number of infections is still increasing each day exponentially.