A suspected scam store, featuring hard-to-find gadgets topped Google search results for days. The site titled ‘MyTechDomestic’ accepted payments via direct bank transfers only, despite indicating support for credit cards and PayPal, and falsely claimed to be owned by a UK-registered company.

It was flagged to Google last week but the US company took action only after being contacted by BBC News on Monday.

Matthew Gardiner, cyber security expert at Mimecast commented on the increase in fraudsters:

“What makes online commerce so attractive for legitimate sellers, makes it equally attractive for fraudsters. This is backed up by our latest research into analysis of threat actors during the first 100 days of Covid-19, which found that retail sector consistently remained the top targeted vertical, with 115,000 fake covid related domains found within the reporting period. The ability to quickly register a web domain, stand-up an ecommerce web site, leveraging templated hosting services, and run digital ads, leveraging global ad networks, for a very small amount of money and effort makes this part of the web incredibly vulnerable to scams.

Add in high motivation from the pandemic and the massive global move to work and play from home, and this is what results. Every element of the legitimate supply chain, including the consumer, has a role to play to tamp down this source of fraud. Owners of legitimate brands and ecommerce sites should be continually scanning the web and taking down fraudsters. Web domain registrars and hosting services should be providing a higher level of scrutiny on the services they are enabling and staying away from, or at least quickly taking down, services that violate their terms of service.  And finally consumers should come to the web with their “buyer beware” hats on – if the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is!”

This is just one of the many scams taking place during the current pandemic. Fraudsters are also using Covid-19 as a means to trick people into thinking they need to get tested via SMS phishing scams.