Beware of Shady Websites Pushing Pharmaceuticals for COVID-19

Researchers have uncovered several shadowy sellers eager to capitalize on the quest for a treatment for COVID-19. Scared shoppers should be aware that these websites are only trying to get their attention to defraud them.

Researchers from NormShield looked for websites using the names of 10 drugs commonly discussed in recent months. The team claims to have found “a dramatic spike” in the number of sites set up to capitalize on the anxiety caused by the pandemic.

According to the research, the first three months of 2020 alone saw the emergence of 362 new possible phishing domains with references to, or containing exact names of, 10 drugs allegedly capable of fighting off the novel Coronavirus. Those medicines include remdesivir, chloroquine (and hydroxychloroquine), Plaquenil, azithromycin, metformin, favipiravir, interferon, lopinavir, ritonavir and arbitol.

221 of the 362 sites had either chloroquine or azithromycin in their domain names , the report says.

“While the number of phishing domains catapulted for chloroquine and azithromycin in particular, domain names containing the eight other drugs increased as well,” the researchers said.

As a general rule, be wary when searching online for drugs, and only go with trusted pharmacies where you can talk with an actual pharmacist before you buy. “Miracle cures” are always a sign of a scam or fraud attempt, so steer clear of any ad that sounds too good to be true. Currently there are no known drugs or vaccines capable of preventing a COVID-19 infection.

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