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COVID-19 Website Seized After Owner Tried to Sell It For BTC

The US Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Justice (DoJ) has recently sized coronaprevention.org. The seizure was due to allegations that the owner had tried to sell this domain for Bitcoin in a so-called “hacker forum.”

Selling To Scammers

The announcement came on Friday, where the unidentified owner of this web domain had tried to sell it to someone in a hacker forum. Unknowing to him, this buyer was an undercover agent of the DHS Criminal Investigations unit. This agent claimed to want to use this site to sell fake testing kits for COVID-19. Rather amusingly, the owner of the website commented on this, stating that the plan was “genius.”

As per the warrant attached to the press release, some details are revealed. The owner of coronaprevention.org, simply referred to by the name “Subject A” had listed the domain for sale on a forum. This forum, in particular, was already established and known for content and a user base that focuses primarily on hijacking and otherwise hacking online accounts. This warrant came a day after Donald Trump, the US president, declared a national emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Crypto Crooks are Using Covid-19 Fear to Sell Fake Vaccines Online 

Leveraging Illegal Opportunities

An undercover agent was quickly mobilized to reach out. It’s alleged that Subject A then promptly explained that they were charging $500 for the domain, payable through the use of Bitcoin. It should be noted that, according to the warrant, domains such as this are usually valued closer to $20. In the end, the agent ultimately sent a partial payment to this undisclosed Bitcoin address.

This news came shortly after the DOJ made an announcement that it had reportedly disrupted hundreds of different domains that were being used for illegal activities. In particular, to shill various scams in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Declining Full Details

However, a full list of the seized domains have not been made available, and it is yet unclear whether or not the seizure of Friday is related to any of this. Earlier this week, however, a spokesperson went to press. They explained that the DOJ was aware of the increase in fraud cases relating to COVID-19. These frauds, according to the spokesperson, involved an array of virtual payment platforms. This mandates the use of proactive assistance within many of the crypto industry to stop these schemes from coming to full fruition.

However, it should be noted that the DoJ spokesperson declined to respond to which entities it was working with to allow for these proactive measures.

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      A journalist, with experience in web journalism and marketing. Ali holds a master's degree in finance and enjoys writing about cryptocurrencies and fintech. Ali’s work has been published on a number of cryptocurrency publications.