The website was scamming users in the name of providing the COVID-19 vaccine but actually collecting their personal data for malicious purposes.
The US Attorney’s office for the District of Maryland has seized “freevaccinecovax.org” which purported to be the website of an actual biotechnology company developing a vaccine for COVID-19 but in reality, it was alleged to be collecting personal information of individuals visiting the site.
The scammers behind the domain intended on using the information for malicious purposes such as fraud, phishing attacks, and/or deployment of malware.
Upon the conduction of a domain analysis by HSI, it was revealed that the domain name was created on 27th April 2021, using an IP address that traced back to Strasbourg while the registrant country was listed as Russia.
Furthermore, the logos of Pfizer, the World Health Organisation (WHO), and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) appeared on the homepage of the fraudulent site.
Specifically, the fraudulent website contained a “Select your city” drop-down and “Apply” and “Upload application” buttons. Upon selecting a city and clicking on “Apply” a PDF file is downloaded to your computer. This PDF file is written in Cyrillic. Once the PDF is completed, it then can be uploaded to the website by clicking on the “Upload application” button.
Since the site has been seized, the individuals now visiting it will see a message that the site has been seized by the federal government and be redirected to another site for additional information.
In a press release, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner said that:
“This is the ninth fraudulent website seeking to illegally profit from the COVID-19 pandemic that we have seized.” “Members of the public should not provide personal information or click on links in unsolicited e-mails and should remember that the COVID-19 vaccine is not for sale,” Mr. Lenzner added.