The US Department of Justice has issued a takedown notice against a scam website for soliciting money in exchange for a coronavirus vaccine.
This is the first takedown notice issued by US prosecutors since the pandemic caused by the dreaded virus.
In a press statement, the Justice Department said the notice was issued to a fraudulent website that seeks to profit from the chaos created by COVID-19.
The statement reads:
“As detailed in the civil complaint and accompanying court papers filed on Saturday, March 21, 2020, the operators of the website “coronavirusmedicalkit.com” are engaging in a wire fraud scheme seeking to profit from the confusion and widespread fear surrounding COVID-19. Information published on the website claimed to offer consumers access to World Health Organization (WHO) vaccine kits in exchange for a shipping charge of $4.95, which consumers would pay by entering their credit card information on the website. In fact, there are currently no legitimate COVID-19 vaccines and the WHO is not distributing any such vaccine.”
The said website even invoked the name of the World Health Organization as it solicits money through users’ credit cards.
In exchange for credit card information, the website promises to send vaccine kits against the coronavirus.
Here is an screenshot Reclaim The Net captured before the site was removed:
The kits were advertised as being free of charge but receivers will have to shoulder shipping costs. The kits were said to be from the World Health Organization but the Justice Department vehemently denies the existence of such a vaccine and said that WHO is not distributing any vaccines.
The lawsuit has won the US government a restraining order and it was immediately served to the website owners after the orders a federal judge.
The order also calls for the website hosting and domain company, Namecheap, to take the website website. Namecheap immediately responded and pulled the website offline.
Jody Hunt, the Assistant Attorney General said that the Department of Justice will not tolerate criminal exploitation of the pandemic for anybody’s gains and that they “will use every resource at the government’s disposal to act quickly to shut down these most despicable of scammers, whether they are defrauding consumers, committing identity theft, or delivering malware.”