Although the percentage of fully vaccinated Poles still does not exceed 50 percent, the demand for fake vaccination certificates is growing massively. Check Point Research data shows that there has been as much as a 257 percent increase in the number of illegal sellers since March.
$100 – that’s how much fake CDC and NHS vaccination cards, digital Uniformed Certificates, and fake negative PCR tests for COVID-19 now cost. Vendors offer their services on encrypted Telegram app groups, some of which exceed 450,000 members. According to experts, this form of distribution is the most efficient of today’s channels.
– We have been investigating the darknet and Telegram for coronavirus-related services all last year. You can now buy fake vaccination cards for almost any country, with just the country you are from and what you need. – says Oded Vananu, head of product vulnerability research at Check Point Software.
Fake vaccination certificates are now available for almost every country, but most of them are for European markets. In March 2021. Check Point Research published a report detailing the trend of fake “covid passport” sales on the darknet. Since then, the company has continued to monitor the black market for COVID-19-related activity.
While in March most of the fake coronavirus certificates were advertised on the darknet, most of the activity is now centered around Telegram. Cybercriminals are also offering contact via WhatsApp, email, Wickr and Jabber. Check Point Reserach experts suspect that the switch to Telegram has helped vendors significantly increase distribution by reaching more consumers faster.
Target group “anti-vaccinationists”
The advertisements for the fake vaccination cards are primarily aimed at vaccine opponents, after which one of the advertising slogans clearly informs: “we are here to save the world from a poisonous vaccine”. They also emphasize the possibility of free movement and work. According to the vendors, vaccination cards are registered and verified in the NHS and CDC online system, as well as in the EU database. Interest is growing: they have seen a 566% increase in followers and group members since March!
– Vendors are choosing to advertise and operate on Telegram because it scales their distribution. Telegram is less technical to use compared to the darknet and allows you to reach a huge number of people quickly. We believe the broader market growth is driven by the rapidly spreading Delta variant and the urgent need for everyone to get vaccinated. Ultimately, there are people who don’t want to take the vaccine, but expect to want the freedom and privileges that vaccinated people increasingly receive. They are increasingly turning to the darknet and Telegrm. – Vananu explains.
Black market vendors mostly accept payments via PayPal and cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Monero, Dogecoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and others). In some cases, Steam, Amazon and eBay gift cards are accepted.
– Prices for fake graft cards have halved since March, and online groups dealing with such services boast hundreds of thousands of people. I recommend that you do not use these sellers, as you may find that they want more than just selling fake vaccination cards. – Check Point Software expert warns.