Several online hackers are already impersonating the World Health Organization (WHO) in an effort to steal crypto-currency donations to counter the COVID-19 pandemic, according to cybersecurity company Sophos.
Scammers look to benefit from COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund
Chester Wisniewski, a cybersecurity specialist at Sophos, spoke in a March 19 tweet about WHO impersonators, sharing scammers ‘ email screenshots. According to Wisniewski the fraudsters are trying to trick people into sending them Bitcoin as a donation to WHO’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund which was launched on March 13, .
After the agency officially identified Coronavirus as a pandemic on March 11, the WHO subsequently founded the new coronavirus fund in collaboration with the UN Foundation. As announced, with funding from Internet giants such as Facebook and Google, the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund has launched encouraging individual donors to funding the fund via the official website.
However, the fake donation request which Wisniewski mentioned does not apply to the website at all. The impersonators are asking potential donors to donate by sending Bitcoin directly to an address provided in the email according to the screenshot. According to security researcher evidence, the impersonators are also using a fake address, [email protected], to defraud people. As of press time, according to data from Blockchain.com’s explorer, both Bitcoin addresses listed in the fake emails are null.
Coronovirus Scams rapidly involves cryptocurrency
Given the fact that the WHO has a comprehensive FAQ regarding its COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, it’s not immediately clear whether or not the fund accepts crypto donations. Cointelegraph asked the agency to expand on the matter, and should the company respond, it will update the article.
Given the fact that the WHO has a comprehensive FAQ regarding its COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, it’s not immediately clear whether or not the fund accepts crypto donations. Newsccm asked the agency to expand on the matter, and should the company respond, it will update the article.
A number of governments have already warned the public of the risk of crypto-scams aimed at capitalizing on the widespread COVID-19 fears. On March 11, the Financial Conduct Authority of the United Kingdom (U.K.) released an official warning about coronavirus scammers using any possible means to trick people into giving them money. Regulator wrote:
“Watch out for scams related to coronavirus (Covid-19). These scams take many forms and could be about insurance policies, pensions transfers, or high-return investment opportunities, including investments in cryptoassets.”
Prior to that, the U.K. Police also warned of coronavirus scammers asking for Bitcoin payments. DomainTools reported coronavirus-themed ransomware known as CovidLock which infects devices of users and asks for Bitcoin’s payment of $100 in exchange for a password that would restore control of the device to the owner.