The latest development in scams amid the coronavirus epidemic sees scammers taking advantage of people’s fears for extortion purposes. Specifically schemers are extorting people to send money in bitcoin, the untraceable decentralised currency of the web.
Internet users have been receiving shakedown emails demanding $4000 bitcoin purchases with threats of infecting family members if choosing not to comply. Many emails contain verified information on the virus’s current development, making these extortions effective in both generating dirty money for fraudsters and for increasing panic.
The IT security company Sophos recently stated that scammers are going to extremes way, even impersonating the World Health Organization and asking for “donations” in bitcoin.
As principal research scientist at Sophos Chester Wisniewski said, “First, Sophos noticed phishing attackers using the World Health Organization (WHO) as a lure. Next, numerous malware gangs began to disguise their malicious wares as COVID-19-themed documents. Now today, we are seeing cyberattackers impersonating WHO charities, this time the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund,”
What’s more distressing is that scammers are trying to imbue computers with malware by means of COVID-19 related documents. The outbreak has pushed COVID-19 search results over the roof, and scammers have been taking advantage of this surge.