In what could be flagged as one of the COVID-19 scams, two United States authorities have reportedly frozen a website from an alleged scammer. The owner posted about the site in a “hacker’s forum,” and demanded a payment in Bitcoin for the domain.
The seizure was made by the United States Homeland Security (DHS) and the Departments of Justice (DOJ). It was brought to notice after the owner wanted to sell the domain (coronaprevention.org) to a DOJ’s undercover agent.
The agent convinced the website owner that he planned on selling fake coronavirus testing kits using the domain. Without any criticism, the owner agreed to the plan by saying it was “genius,” according to the report.
Meanwhile, the website was listed on the aforementioned forum, a day after the President of the United States, Donald Trump proclaimed a national emergency amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
This forum in question is mainly known for contents that have to do with hijacking accounts online and computer exploits. Perhaps, it is populated by users who show interest in computer hacking.
DOJ hits on COVID-19 scams
As per a warrant share in the report, the seller placed a $500 bid for the domain, which will normally be sold at around $20. Meanwhile, the DOJ agent sent part of the payment to an unknown Bitcoin (BTC) wallet address.
The website seizure follows the announcement by DOJ that it closed down a significant number of domains that were used to conduct COVID-19 scams. Thus, it remains unclear if coronaprevention.org seizure occurred amid DOJ’s recent action.
Additionally, the spokesperson for DOJ acknowledged that the authority is aware of the growing COVID-19 scams with several digital payment media. The department also appreciated the effort of the crypto industry to curb the occurrence of these scams, said the spokesperson.