Scammers have reportedly started to impersonate the World Health Organization (WHO) to steal bitcoin donations meant to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to cybersecurity firm Sophos, the scammers are looking to mislead people into sending BTC donations to their own addresses, while thinking they were sending them to the WHO’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
The Solidarity Response Fund was launched after the WHO declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, with support from tech giants like Facebook and Google, who “have instituted a matching scheme for funds raised through their platforms, while individual donors are also supporting the fund.”
Screenshots of a fake email from the scammers impersonation the World Health Organization show they are using a spoofed email address meant to make it look like the correspondence comes from the WHO itself, and that they directly ask for BTC donations.
The scammers impersonating the @WHO COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund are evolving. First samples seen on 16 March and have put a bit more spit and polish on the 18 March run. Please donate to the real fund here: https://t.co/MfggnADyKF pic.twitter.com/FVwbbSmN4e
— Chester Wisniewski (@chetwisniewski) March 19, 2020
The Bitcoin addresses identified in the screenshots are, at press time, empty. It’s unclear whether the scammers have used other addresses in their emails. As CryptoGlobe has been reporting, scammers have been trying to take advantage of the coronavirus outbreak, so much so they used fake tracking applications to distribute ransomware and ask for BTC to unlock victims’ mobile devices.
Governments throughout the world have already started warning people about the scammers’ attempts. The U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), for example, issued an official warning about the potential ways scammers try to mislead people. The warning reads:
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.
As reported, scammers selling medical supplies they didn’t have earned a total of $2 million worth of cryptocurrency from people worried about the COVID-19 outbreak. However, ransomware groups have claimed they would be suspending attacks on healthcare providers during the pandemic.
Featured image via Pixabay.