Ômicron: As has happened during the covid-19 pandemic, the scammers on duty are developing a new scam using the disease. This time, criminals are betting on phishing, a social engineering technique used to obtain confidential and banking data from users, taking advantage of the current climate of uncertainty and anxiety generated by the spread of the Ômicron variant of the coronavirus in Europe.
Initially detected by consumer advocacy organization Which, the data theft scheme masquerades as official communications from the British National Health Service (NHS) in the UK. Using the same visual programming as the official agency, the fraudulent messages offer free PCR tests that claim to be specific to the Ômicron variant.
For now, what is concrete about Ômicron is a communication from the World Health Organization (WHO) claiming that it is a “concern variant” of the covid-19 virus. While acknowledging that the new mutation is expected to spread rapidly around the world this week, the world agency still doesn’t know how effective current vaccines are at containing it, according to CBS News.
How does Ômicron’s phishing scam work?
Fake messages about the Ômicron variant of the coronavirus are sent via texts, emails and even offered over the phone. During contact with potential victims, they are offered new test kits specifically designed to detect the new strain of covid-19.
According to Which, in addition to false information — that the variant is transmitted between vaccinated people, or that vaccines are ineffective with it — a careful reading will reveal gross grammatical errors. However, if the recipient of the scam clicks on the link at the bottom of the mail, they will be taken to a fake NHS page that asks for: full name, date of birth, address, phone numbers and email address.
Finally, to obtain the banking information, the site asks that a sum of £1.24 be transferred as a delivery fee and the mother’s maiden name.