COVID-19 vaccine scams on dark web: 500€ for one dose

The Criminal organizations they’ve seen in the vaccine against COVID-19 an extremely succulent business. Many individuals eager to get vaccinated prefer to pay huge amounts of money instead of waiting their turn to administer the medication at no cost. People who know how to benefit from the despair come into play. Before it was available that they place the vaccine up the available online dark web market. And the deal has only increased.

The team Check Point Research (CPR) published a study that shows how, since December, vaccines against the coronavirus have been encouraged at the dark web, a hidden portion of the internet that’s obtained with specific software and whose content is encrypted, which has enabled the proliferation of illegal businesses and scams. Despite notices from Europol and the European Union about these drug-related crimes, vaccine advertisements are up 400 percent in the marketplaces that were examined for the investigation in just over a month.

They also have undergone a notable increase in cost. If a month ago cybercriminals requested for a mean $250 (205€) for its alleged coronavirus vaccine, now the price has quadrupled the amount to oscillate between $500 and $1,000 (approximately 400€ and 800€, respectively) for a single dose, on some events that amount is even surpassed. Known is used to cover bitcoin digital money, difficult to monitor. The researchers looked at a supplier offering doses in massive quantities, with costs that stand at $30,000 (24,500€) for 10,000 supposed streets of this vaccine, enough for 5,000 people, which can be shipped in three or four unique shipments.

Is the vaccine actually coming?

Many advertisements promise to send the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine home. Even Johnson & Johnson’s that has not yet been approved. But, Carlos Fragoso, an authority in cybersecurity in the firm One eSecurity, warns on RTVE that, typically, these vaccines don’t exist: “The likelihood that such vaccines exist is really quite low, because, although criminal groups intend to steal them currently all authorities and businesses are monitoring and protecting the supply chain quite intensively. Likely, these are scams in which the offender or organized groups need quick money”.

To validate this order’s integrity, the CPR researchers did the evaluation and asked for a dose during the dark web. They compensated $750 for a vaccine manufactured in China. After making the payment, the seller’s account was deleted, and the item never came: “They offered us a Chinese vaccine, at the cost of $750. We made the payment using Bitcoin, submitted our shipping address, and asked for the delivery details. After a couple of days without a reply, we obtained a message from the supplier saying that the vaccine was sent to our address. A couple of days later, the provider’s account was deleted, and (…) we’re still waiting to get our package”.

“Unfortunately, though most people are looking with hope, you will find a few appearing with greed and malice in their heads, with the intent of capitalizing on people’s concerns about COVID-19 and the desire to be protected against the danger of contracting it,” laments Check Point.

Other scams

This isn’t the only hoax out there regarding the vaccine. Last December, a couple of days before the vaccination campaign started, several lands, such as Basque Country, Seville, or the Balearic Islands, alerted their citizens to fake calls to provide the “home vaccination.” The main targets of the scam were older individuals who lived alone.

In Catalonia, the government also warned of residency fraud. The criminals asked for a bank income to exchange vaccines and jeopardized the centers with monetary penalties for nonprofits.

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