- The current dark web scams around COVID-19 are quite diverse and interesting at the same time.
- Some sellers try to promote medical and protective gear, while others sell the virus or cures for it.
- Most of the listings are entirely fake, and the buyer shouldn’t expect anything to arrive at their doorstep.
‘DarkOwl’ and ‘Sixgill’, two dark web intelligence firms are shedding light on the most prominent COVID-19-themed scams that are going on right now. As expected, these scams involve fake vaccines, N95 masks, ventilators, blood tests, cures, and various types of protective gear. The fraudsters are cashing in the fear and credulity of a large number of internet users who are desperately looking for something to help them defend the novel coronavirus that continues to spread like wildfire.
Firstly, there are sales of protective gear and medical equipment. A scammer is selling a pack of 10 Farstar N95 masks for €80, while a different listing offers a Puritan Bennett 980 ventilator for home use. In another case, a seller pretends to be in possession of an Israel-developed vaccine that can supposedly protect you from COVID-19 infections and is selling it for $99 per 10 doses. Of course, all purchases can be carried out through Bitcoin, and no goods are ever sent to the buyer. In the unlikely case that something is delivered, it’s totally not what the listing promised.
But putting up fake listings isn’t the end of the story. Some actors are taking things way farther, pretending to be laboratory doctors who hold sputum and blood samples that contain the COVID-19 virus in an active state. These scammers are offering to ship the vials worldwide in a refrigerator, to keep the virus alive for whatever reason the interested buyer needs to get a hold onto it. The cost for each vial is set at $100 each.
And then there are the “straight out of fantasy land” offerings that target people who have no crumb of composure left, and at the same time, they are ready to believe anything. One seller is offering a specially crafted (supposedly) MP3 file that contains sounds in frequencies that would kill the coronavirus if played 3-6 times a day. The scammer is sharing the link to the file for free, and only hopes for donations.
In general, we would suggest that you stay away from dark web marketplaces, as there is no credibility or guarantee about anything whatsoever. Some of the listings are real, others are fake, and many are parts of scams. If you insist on giving it a go, make sure to consult our guide on how to roam the darknet markets as safely as possible, keep your identity hidden, and steer clear from common trickery.