Snake oil Covid-19 treatment sites seized by US authorities
Scam domains pretending to be Walmart in phishing scam
U.S. authorities have seized two estates allegedly selling unapproved drugs for the prevention or treatment of Covid-19 while posing as sites run by Walmart.
The two domains – http://pharmacywalmart.com and https://stromectol-ivermectin.com – both resolved to https://en.pharmacywalmart.com/buy-stromectol-usa.html and involved unauthorized use of the Walmart logo in an attempt to lend credibility to a scam that cynically played on pandemic fears.
Each site claimed to offer experimental or unapproved treatments for Covid-19 when in reality only exists to collect personal data and financial information from potential brands.
Both sites have been seized by the US federal government, so any visitor who strayed onto the domain will be redirected to a site that offers real information on the coronavirus pandemic.
The perpetrators of the snake oil phishing scam remain publicly unidentified. However, an analysis showed that the domain en.pharmacywalmart.com was created through a registrant in Russia in November 2019.
Pharmacywalmart.com claimed to offer a number of drugs for sale, including “Stromectol (Ivermectin), Aralen (Chloroquine) and Kaletra (Lopinavir and Ritonavir), for the experimental and unapproved treatment or prevention of Covid-19,” according to a declaration by the US Department of Justice on the domain seizure action.
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These drugs have applications in the treatment and prevention of malaria or (in one case) the treatment of HIV, but none are approved for the prevention or treatment of Covid-19. This goes against false claims on the seized domain that “Kaletra shows positive results in blocking Covid-19 viral replication”, for example.
“No domain name is authorized by Walmart to use its intellectual property or to offer its products for sale,” according to US authorities. “By seizing the sites, the government prevented third parties from acquiring the names and using them to commit other crimes, as well as from continuing to access the sites in their current form. “
Website scams involving Covid-19 are commonplace. The two fragmentary domains seized in the latest case represent the 12th and 13th domain name seizures related to Covid fraud by the Maryland US Attorney’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
The problem is not just American, but international. In March, HIS and Interpol issued a joint warning that fake Covid-19 vaccines and treatments pose a ‘serious health hazard’, as previously reported The daily sip.
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