As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the world, cyber scammers are trying to cash in the trend by promising dubious vaccine to the unsuspecting public.

US and European government officials have warned the public of fraudsters trying to scam them of money and personal data, online, via email and on messaging apps.

According to Reuters, fraudsters are luring victims by claiming that they can deliver vaccine shots within days, for as little as US$150 (RM456), whereas the real rollout of the legitimate vaccine is expected to be months away.

A check by Reuters revealed that scammers are prowling dark web forums and messaging app Telegram, promising at least seven types of alleged COVID-19 vaccines.

The US FBI and Interpol have warned that false cures and vaccines advertised on bogus sites could pose cyber and serious health threats to the people, and even cost lives.

The report said that website domains combining the word vaccine and COVID-19 or coronavirus have more than doubled to 2,500 to November, compared to the month before. This was when the first legitimate vaccines were rolled out for regulatory approval.

While many of these site registrations are just opportunistic registrations, some are being used for phishing attempts to get people to click on malicious links, cybersecurity firm Recorded Future has warned.

The rollout of the much-awaited vaccine has been slower than promosed, with only about 4.5 million people having received their first shot as of Monday - way lesser than the 20 million expected to have been vaccinated by the end of 2020.

The first batch of vaccine is expected to reach Malaysian shores the earliest by February.

To date, the coronavirus has infected 122,845 people in Malaysia and killed 509.

The global infection and death tally, meanwhile, stands at 86.8 million, and 1.87 million, respectively.


Source: Reuters
Photo source: Reuters