The global pandemic has brought out the best in people across the world, but it has also encouraged the scammers and fraudsters to crawl out of the sewer. That is why the dark web marketplace Monopoly Market has taken action against scammers claiming to sell cures for Covid-19 and banned them from the platform.
Astonishingly, as Cointelegraph reports, “On other darknet platforms, listings are rife with coronavirus keywords — with vendors selling everything from narcotic cocktails marketed as ‘coronavirus vaccines,’ to coronavirus-infected blood and saliva.”
Eileen Ormsby, a dark web journalist and True Crime writer, called out the scams on Twitter, when she posted a screenshot posted by Monopoly Market’s operator that threatened permanent bans against vendors “caught flogging goods as a ‘cure’ to Coronavirus.”
The Monopoly Market post first claimed that the site had some “class” and then informed sellers, “You do not, under any circumstances use COVID-19 as a marketing tool. No Magical Cures, no silly fucking mask selling, toilet paper selling. None of that bullshit.”
It also issued a warning to shoppers in its marketplace: “You are about to ingest drugs from a stranger on the internet — under no circumstances should you trust any vendor that is using COVID-19 as a marketing tool to peddle tangle/already questionable goods.”
However, while Monopoly Market has taken a sensible approach, other platforms are still allowing vendors to peddle fake cures that capitalise on peoples’ fears about the virus. Cointelegraph reports, “In addition to fake coronavirus antidotes and vaccines priced for hundreds of dollars, packs of surgical and N95 masks are being sold worldwide for an exorbitant premium.”
Furthermore, President Trump’s new-found belief in anti-malaria medication has caused a spike in a similar emergence of listings for the anti-malarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. A report published by The Independent shows listings for boxes of chloroquine priced at $200 each.
It is sad and shocking that people have chosen to exploit this pandemic for personal gain, even to the extent of attempting to infect hospital IT systems with ransomware. In just the past week, Cointelegraph reported that IT professionals from 65 countries had banded together to fight ransomware targeting hospitals.
Please be careful when buying anything online especially from the dark web, and remember that any so-called Covid-19 cure is bound to be fake.