While the fight against COVID is far from over and WHO confirming that the Delta variant has spread across 185 countries, there is another serious threat the world is confronting – that of fake vaccine certificates.
Vaccination is key in this fight against COVID, but the fake vaccine certificate black market is posing a major threat – it’s not just a crime, a fake certificate compromises the health safety of everyone around. As an increasing number of countries have adopted vaccine certificates – to monitor the progress in vaccination among its population – black market for fake vaccine certificates has reportedly increased ten times in the past few months.
According to a report in Wion, a study by software company Check Point, which on observing the black market for fake COVID vaccine certificates, discovered that the market has expanded to 29 countries across the globe. Out of these, the nine major countries are new to the list – Austria, Brazil, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, Singapore, Thailand, UAE.
According to media reports, Check Point Research (CPR) claim that there were nearly 1000 vendors of fake Covid vaccine certificates on August 10 on messaging app Telegram. But now, it has grown beyond 10,000 – which amounts to an increase of more than 10 times.
And the very fact that it’s available on apps like Telegram and WhatsApp is in itself a cause of worry. Earlier this year, fake certificates were being sold mainly on the dark web – this meant people had to be at least tech savy to a degree to access these certificates. But now they are easily available on apps like Telegram.
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. While people are paying anything between 150€ to 250€ for these certificates – Singapore reportedly finds a big market – a Telegram bot has apparently been designed in Austria, reports Wion, that can help get people such fake Covid vaccine certificates for free.