Scam? Cure? Vaccinate? DWMs are here to help

We have identified 698 COVID-19 related listings in 28 DWMs, so far. But what's in a listing? Three representative examples are below. Some more listings are available in the .csv file to download.

i) A listing announced the extension of the Small Business Administration loan in the USA, shown in the Figure above. It provides step-by-step instructions to - illicitly -get the subsidy. The listing also suggested: “I do not recommend taking more than 10,000 of the approved amount, because after that cashing out becomes a little harder.

ii) A listing fraudulently proposed drug mixes with claimed curative power against COVID-19. The listing said: “Protect yourself from the coronavirus” and proposed a marijuana based drug mix as a healing cure.

iii) We detected the presence of fake COVID-19 vaccines since March 2020. The title of the listing was: “Covid-19 Vaccine. Let's keep it low key for now.” Then, it offered the vaccine at $15,000, a very high price, probably because the vaccine is made for an exclusive club of people.

If you would like to know the widespread impact that COVID-19 had on DWMs, click here.

How to cite:

Want to cite and/or use the information provided in this page? It is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 - please cite our ongoing monitoring effort as follows:

A. Bracci, M. Nadini, M. Aliapoulios, D. McCoy, I. Gray, A. Teytelboym, A. Gallo, A. Baronchelli. The COVID-19 online shadow economy. Preprint arXiv:2008.01585 (2020)

Tue Nov 03 2020

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The research presented in the website is supported by the "COVID-19: Monitoring the effects of the pandemic on illicit online trade" project funded by the ESRC. Content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) unless otherwise specified in single posts.