- Coronaprevention.org was for sale in Bitcoin on a hackers website
- HSI agents infiltrated the sale and shut down the site
- One of a number of crypto-related coronavirus scams
A web domain related to coronavirus has been seized by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia after the owner tried to sell it for Bitcoin in a hacker forum. The listing for coronaprevention.org was accompanied by a description that the site was a great opportunity to sell in-demand products related to the outbreak for a disproportionately high price, as has already been seen following the global shortage of medical supplies.
“Fake Testing Kits” Could be Sold Through Site
The Attorney’s Office took action after the website appeared on the forum the day after President Donald Trump declared a national emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic. The seller stated that the domain would allow someone to sell “high markup in demand products”, himself charging a high markup for the site, with payment to be made in Bitcoin.
An agent from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) contacted the seller about the domain under the guise of a potential buyer, where the seller revealed that it would be “genius” to sell “fake testing kits” through the domain. The seller also stated that he wanted to pursue this line of business but that he “couldn’t get enough cash to bulk buy them from Alibaba [a Chinese e-commerce site].”
To make matters worse for the seller, he also instructed the undercover agent on how to set up a new website on the domain in a manner which could prevent US authorities from shutting it down in the future.
Not the First Crypto/Coronavirus Scam
While the coronavirus pandemic might have a net positive impact on the price of Bitcoin, the crisis has seen numerous unscrupulous individuals trying to take advantage of it, from hackers demanding Bitcoin under threat of coronavirus infection to potentially fraudulent fundraising campaigns for vaccine development.