The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Homeland Security (DHS) seized a  COVID-19 website that was being sold for bitcoin.

According to a press release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Colombia, authorities seized the fraudulent website after its owner attempted to sell the domain on a hacker forum for bitcoin, to an undercover agent. 

The unnamed domain owner, referred to as “Subject A,” listed the website for sale on a website “populated by users interested in, hacking and hijacking online accounts.” Subject A attempted to sell the domain to an undercover agent with the DOJ, who told the owner about his intention to use the website for distributing fake COVID-19 testing kits. The press release claims Subject A referred to his plan as “genius.”

According to an accompanying warrant, Subject A wanted $500 in bitcoin in exchange for the domain. The agent eventually sent a partial payment to an undisclosed bitcoin address. 

U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Shea blasted the propensity of scammers capitalizing on the coronavirus pandemic. 

He said, 

We will not tolerate exploitation of this national emergency for personal gain. This Office will not allow fraudsters to use anonymous online spaces and cryptocurrency to hide their harmful activities and prey on victims.

The press release follows on the heels of an announcement made by the DOJ last week that it had disrupted “hundreds” of domains related to COVID-19 scams. 

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