A major Covid19 scam that caused a sensation in mid-April of this year has now finally been completed. At the beginning of September the two criminals behind the big scam were arrested in the Netherlands.
This is how the Covid19 scam works
The way the Covid19 scam works contains many elements that we can find in all scams. These include phishing e-mails but also payment in advance. The special thing about the scam we report on this blog is that all these elements are combined in one scam.
The criminals saw in the beginning of March a possibility to steal a lot of money through an alleged mask sale. At that time many cities and companies went into a lookdown. This new situation caused many decisions to be made hastily and this is where the fraud starts.
The criminals started with an e-mail from an apparently serious company from Spain, which sells face masks among other things. Since many medical goods were scarce in these times, Germany was also interested in face masks and wanted to buy masks for around 15 million euros.
However, the Spanish company’s website was fake and the e-mail address from which the offer for around 10 million face masks came was also compromised. However, this offer was only faked so that the delivery subsequently failed.
After the first delivery failed, the apparently reputable Spanish company was able to refer to a dealer in Ireland. This dealer in turn referred to a supplier for face masks in the Netherlands.
This is exactly where the threads come together, because the Irish dealer tries to build as much trust with the customer as possible. In the next step, the dealer informs that the Dutch company can definitely supply 10 million face masks, but payment in advance is necessary.
The initial delivery should contain around 1.5 million face masks for a prepayment of 1.5 million euros. After the money was transferred, the customer was already preparing for this large delivery. But shortly before the planned delivery date, the Dutch company reported that there were difficulties and that the 1.5 million euros had not arrived. An emergency transfer of about 880000 Euro was suggested, so that the 1.5 million masks could be reserved.
Since this is a Covid19 scam, you can already imagine that the ordered masks never arrived at the customer.
After the customer has discovered the fraud, he reports it directly to his bank. Together with Interpol and banks and authorities of the countries involved, the two Nigerians responsible for the Covid19 scam were able to arrest two Nigerians shortly before about 500000 Euros were transferred to an account in Nigeria.
Fraud is a popular approach in emergency situations
In our blog posts we have already reported on various scams. For example the PayPal triangle scam, or the Corona grandchild trick. The criminals’ actions are very similar in both of the above mentioned scams as well as in the big Covid19 scam.
In most cases, people who have a concern or are in a pressure situation are attacked. In the Covid19 scam, the customer had the concern to buy face masks, but also a printing situation, since these masks are very limited.
If you find yourself in such a situation and notice that the person you are talking to or the seller is acting strangely, e.g. only accepts payment in advance or at pickup, or passes it on to other dealers, you should be careful. Often it can help to google the seller, since dubious companies have usually already been picked up in an article regarding fraudulent practices.
This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)