Black market for fake Covid vaccine certificates has grown 10 times in 29 countries: Study

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Sep 22, 2021, 07:29 PM(IST)

Covid vaccine certificate Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Fake Covid certificates were available on Telegram for US$85. However, since the US President Joe Biden announced a vaccine mandate, the price for the ‘registered’ CDC vaccine certificate has now increased to US$200

As the world fights against the deadly coronavirus, there is another Covid-related problem that is brewing: fake vaccine certificates.

One way of staying safe from coronavirus is to get vaccinated and governments have been urging citizens to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Several countries are now coming up with vaccine certificate to monitor who has been vaccinated, and who still needs to get a shot.

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However, the infamous black market seems to have found their grip on that too now. As more and more countries are adopting vaccine certificates, the black market for fake vaccine certificates has increased ten times in the past few months.

Check Point, a software company, conducted a study to observe the black market for fake Covid vaccine certificates and found that the market has expanded to 29 countries all over the world. Out of these, the nine major countries are new, namely Austria, Brazil, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, Singapore, Thailand, UAE.

Experts of Check Point Research (CPR) claim that there were nearly 1,000 vendors of fake Covid vaccine certificates on August 10 on messaging app Telegram. However, that number has now grown beyond 10,000, signalling an increase of 10 times.

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Earlier these fake Covid certificates were available on Telegram for US$85. However, since the US President Joe Biden announced a vaccine mandate, the price for the ‘registered’ CDC vaccine certificate has now increased to US$200.

There has also been an increase in the number of group members on Telegram, which increased from 30,000 to 300,000 in the past few months.

In December 2020, a few hundred Covid vaccines were being sold on the Darknet for $250. However, the black market then started selling fake negative Covid tests and vaccine certificates fo0r $130-150.

Now, in September 2021, people can get fake Covid vaccine passport or certificates, CDC and NHS Covid vaccine cards and also fake PCR Covid tests.

Singapore is one of the biggest markets for this as a single fake vaccine certificate is being sold for 250€. Similarly, people of Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Ukraine, Ireland, Italy, Austria and a few more can obtain a fake certificate for 150€.

It is not just hackers and tech experts using immoral ways to provide fake certificates to people. A Telegram bot has also been designed in Austria that can help get people such fake Covid vaccine certificates for free. Consumers simply need to fill in their details and they can have a PDF file of their fake Covid vaccine certificate or a negative PCR test for free.

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