Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office Seizes Three Domain Names Purporting to be
Baltimore, Maryland – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland has seized “healthbridgescience.com,” “global-pandemic-vaccines.com,” and “genobioscience.com” all of which purported to be the websites of actual biotechnology companies developing treatments for the COVID-19 virus but instead were allegedly used to collect the personal information of individuals visiting the sites, in order to use the information for nefarious purposes, including fraud, phishing attacks, and/or deployment of malware. Individuals visiting those sites now will see a message that the site has been seized by the federal government and be redirected to another site for additional information.
The seizure of the domain names was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner and Special Agent in Charge James R. Mancuso of Homeland Security Investigations – Baltimore.
“We have now seized a total of eight fraudulent websites that seek to illegally profit from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner. “We urge all Maryland residents to be skeptical – don’t provide personal information or click on links in unsolicited e-mails and remember that the COVID-19 vaccine is not for sale. The Federal government is providing the vaccine free of charge to people living in the United States. We will continue to aggressively prosecute fraudsters who seek to prey on unsuspecting residents and their families.”
“The danger with these illegitimate sites is that they can appear legitimate to the average viewer—all the more reason to exercise caution when searching for COVID-19 pandemic information,” said Special Agent in Charge James Mancuso for HSI Baltimore. “As part of our cyber mission, HSI is committed to denying online scammers the ability to deceive and profit from the American people by exploiting the demand for vaccines and treatments.”
According to the affidavits filed in support of these seizures, these investigations began in March 2021. Homeland Security Investigations and the National Intellectual Property Rights Center received notification of two fraudulent websites, “genobioscience.com” and “healthbridgescience.com.” The third site, “global-pandemic-vaccines.com,” was discovered by Homeland Security Investigations’ Cyber Crimes Center (C3) during ongoing investigations for malicious websites. The cases were referred to HSI Baltimore for investigation.
Specifically, HSI was notified of two fraudulent websites “healthbridgescience.com” and “genobioscience.com,” by a victim biotechnology company. The company, which was granted an FDA emergency use authorization for their COVID-19 antibody drug cocktail treatment, confirmed neither of the suspect domains were approved company websites. The fraudulent sites displayed a nearly identical theme and design as the legitimate biotechnology company except…