Scammers Run COVID-19 Vaccine Fraud Schemes to Fool Users

Although the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread and disrupt lives, businesses, and economies, a ray of hope seems to have appeared at the end of the tunnel. Several vaccines are being fast-tracked towards mass production in a race to overcome the crisis and this has caught the attention of cybercriminals looking for ways to dupe users. 

What’s happening?

  • The FBI and other U.S federal agencies have warned the public about several emerging fraud schemes related to COVID-19 vaccines.
  • The scammers involved in such scams ask targeted users to make a down payment and to share their medical and personal details.
  • This new fraud scheme is one of its kinds that adds to a year of COVID-19 scams that made false promises of providing fake cures, and charities.
  • In addition to this, in the first week of December, Interpol had issued a global alert to warn 194 countries about potential criminal activities around COVID-19 vaccines.
  • One of the cybercrimes included theft and illegal advertising of COVID-19 vaccines.

What channels do the attackers use?

  • A report from CheckPoint revealed that threat actors are taking to dark web forums, WhatsApp, or Telegram to advertise false Coronavirus medicines and vaccines.
  • The news comes when several countries and healthcare systems are showing their global interest in the administration of coronavirus vaccines.

A cause for caution

  • The schemes to defraud people have gone to such an extent that threat actors were found running scams by impersonating biotechnology companies involved in the development of COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Recently, the DoJ seized two fake domains that looked similar to the websites of Moderna. These websites were used for various malicious purposes such as infecting visitors with malware and collecting sensitive information from users.

What to infer from this?

As the wait for the vaccine continues, it is likely that there will be a growth in COVID-19 vaccination scams in the coming months. Therefore, people should be wary of any vaccination offerings circulating on the internet. Not just individuals, the pharma companies developing vaccines will also continue to be targeted by malicious attacks from cybercriminals or nation-states looking to exploit the situation.