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ISIS fanatics flogging fake coronavirus face masks to hospitals in scam to raise cash for terror attacks

ISIS warlords are behind an international scam to raise cash for terrorism by flogging fake face masks.

The terrorist group set up a bogus website offering cheap protective equipment across the world during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Unsuspected customers who went to the site could have been duped to hand over cash to the jihadis.

The site – facemaskcenter.com – has now been seized by the authorities in the US.

People clicking on the link are met with an American law enforcement warning reading “this domain has been seized”.

Facemaskcenter.com sold N95 masks, Tyvek suits, gloves, goggles, and thermometers along with a range of other PPE.

ISIS allegedly used the website as a front, according to a senior Department of Justice official.

The terror group’s targets allegedly included hospitals, nursing homes and first responders as they attempted to cash in.

Officials also reportedly seized millions of dollars, hundreds of bitcoin and ethereum accounts, and at least three other websites.

Prosecutors have said the forfeited assets are the “largest-ever seizure of cryptocurrency in the terrorism context”.

Federal prosecutors said ISIS chiefs were allegedly trying to raise money by offering bogus personal protective equipment.

It came amid a time of desperate shortages as health workers battled against the coronavirus pandemic.

ISIS fighters running the site claimed they could supply masks in bulk loads of up to 100,000 – claiming they would ship them from Turkey.

The firm was claimed to be run by “sanitary experts” and boasted to have been set up in 1996 – when the site had only been live since February 2020.

Mark Turnage, chief executive of DarkOwl, a security firm that’s tracked Covid-19 scams, told Wired the site had numerous “red flags”.

He said: “We’ve seen a massive volume of illegitimate materials like PPE being sold and never delivered.

“The fact that ISIS decided to get into this business too isn’t really surprising. Everyone’s a capitalist. They’re leveraging the pandemic too.”

Mr Turnage added: “You can usually test just from the date of the creation of the domain whether this is a legitimate supplier versus someone who is just trying to capitalize on the pandemic.”

John Demers, assistant attorney general of the of the National Security Division, told CBS: “They have a sophisticated online operation.

“Here they were turning that operation to setting up these phony websites to get money to fund terrorism when you thought you were paying for a mask that you needed.”

A senior Justice Department official added that the ISIS’ coronavirus fraud is “just a slice” of the the coronavirus fraud going on online.

Investigators from the Justice Department, FBI, Homeland Security and the IRS also found that terrorists from al-Qaida and Hamas used social media and cryptocurrency to raise money for weapons and operations. 

ISIS terror fanatics have hailed the coronavirus as “God’s little soldier” as they celebrate the pandemic which has infected 21million people worldwide.

Followers of the terror group also are urging their comrades to “weaponise” the virus by purposefully spreading it to “disbelievers”.

The militant’s state has collapsed after being beaten back across the Middle East – once holding large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.

But the terror group remains a threat worldwide as it uses online networks to plot or inspire terror attacks amid fears it may be regrouping in the Middle East and Africa.

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