Researchers have uncovered a lively trade online in the sale of fake vaccination records and passports.
COVID-19 prompted panic buying and price hikes for basic necessities worldwide when the pandemic first hit. However, once vaccines were developed, a market was born out of consumers who wanted their shots as quickly as possible.
Not everyone wants a vaccination, however, and with international restrictions imposed for non-vaccinated travelers, some are looking for alternatives — including fake records.
According to research conducted by Intel 471, the vaccine trade is still strong, but numerous cybercriminals are now also offering fake COVID-19 vaccine certifications focused on US and EU entry requirements.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccination cards are issued by vaccine providers in a paper format. The EU also offers a vaccine passport, the EU Digital COVID Certificate, which is issued to European residents in a paper and digital form.
Underground forum posts advertise their fake certificate wares together with coronavirus claims and misinformation, such as that the “minority ruling is trying to destroy mankind” and the vaccines are “poisonous.”
“We do this to help people who are in critical situations and want to travel urgently,” one advert read.