Fraudsters and forgers have expanded beyond the Dark Net to ply their illegal documents all over the world.
The adoption of vaccine mandates in various countries has led to a boom in the black market for fake vaccine certificates.
According to recent Check Point Research (CPR) findings, fake ‘vaccine passport’ certificates were on sale for US$100-US$120, with majority of sellers from European countries. Also on sale: The EU Digital COVID certificate, CDC and NHS COVID-19 vaccine cards, and fake PCR COVID-19 tests.
In August 2021, CPR saw the number of sellers numbering around 1,000. Today, this number has grown exponentially to north of 10,000. Fake certifications are now being offer in more countries, including:
- Europe: Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Greece, Finland, Romania, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, Czech Republic, Latvia, Ireland, Malta, UK, Ukraine
- Asia Pacific region: Australia, Indonesia, India, Singapore, Thailand
Currently, CPR researchers have spotted new techniques that sellers are using to sell more. For example, in Austria, they found Telegram bot that creates fake certificates for free! All one needs to do is fill in therelevant details and a pdf file will be shared with them containing all their filled data, such as in the case attached- a negative PCR test.
Recommendations for awareness
- Genuine health related certificates are not sold over the Internet. Any such document sold over the internet are clearly illegal. Do not engage with sellers publishing on chat groups or marketplaces anywhere across the web.
- Every country should internally manage a central repository of tests and vaccinated people, which can and should be securely shared between relevant authorized bodies within the country.
- All ‘green passes’ and vaccination certificates should be managed and encrypted in a secure way by the relevant official bodies within each country, authenticated by a QR code.
- Countries should cooperate and share info regarding such data, and create a secure repository with encryption keys to deter fraud and detect forgeries.
According to the firm’s Head of Products Vulnerabilities Research, Oded Vanunu: “Over the past nine months, we witnessed a mass consumerization of the black market by a macro-shift of the black market to Telegram, which to vendors by its anonymity, reach and scale. We estimate that the number of sellers on this back market have gone up by 10x. Our expectation is that the black market for fake coronavirus vaccination cards will continue to thrive as more policy requiring vaccination proof gets rolled out.”