Fake vaccination cards: Telegram as a platform for trade

style="float: right; margin-bottom: 10px; font-weight: 600;"Fri 13th Aug, 2021

In Baden-Württemberg, the 7-day incidence has become obsolete as a guideline in the Corona crisis. Social life is supposed to pick up again - especially for vaccinated people things are getting a bit more relaxed. And here lies the problem. The trade in fake vaccination certificates is on the rise. Especially on platforms like Telegram, Corona deniers like to reach for the forbidden documents.

In Germany and throughout Europe, the trade in fake vaccination cards is booming. As the Austrian newspaper Heute now reports, it is now said to be possible to "buy fully functional vaccination passports via the chat app Telegram." On the controversial Internet platform, conspiracy theories are repeatedly exchanged in various chat groups.

Accordingly, hundreds of providers are currently on the move. The fake vaccination certificates are then paid for with Bitcoin or a voucher. But even fraudsters are not protected from fraud here. It is not uncommon for the fakes not to reach the buyers at all. 100 to 150 euros are then set in the sand.

On the portal datensicherheit.de, Oded Vanunu has his say. The Head of Products Vulnerabilities Research at Check Point Software Technologies talks about investigations by the software company's security officers: "This year, we have investigated the Darknet and Telegram for Corona virus-related offers. Right now, fake vaccination cards can be purchased for almost any country. All interested parties need to do is specify the country they are from and what product they want."

Vanunu says the growing pressure on anti-vaccination activists in Germany and across Europe could fuel the trade in fake vaccination cards in the future. "In fact, there are people who don't want to be vaccinated but still want the freedoms that come with proof of vaccination. These people are increasingly turning to the Darknet and Telegram."

Police and authorities in each country have their hands full trying to prevent the spread of fake vaccination certificates. Just a few days ago, Italian police conducted a raid. As the ORF reports in one, 32 apartments in Rome, Milan and Bari were searched in the process. And the buyers of the fake passports are also in the sights of the investigators.

In Germany, too, investigations into vaccination card forgery are becoming more frequent. Even away from the Internet, the trade is in full swing. According to the NDR, a group practice in the district of Gifhorn was searched by the police and public prosecutor's office in Hildesheim. The doctors are said to have issued false Corona vaccination cards.

As early as April, the Baden-Württemberg State Office of Criminal Investigation issued an urgent warning against the fakes* from the darknet and the various platforms. According to the report, the software company Check Point estimates that around 2,500 Telegram groups are currently active, with 100,000 participants per group. The consequence of this enormous number of participants: Prices for fake vaccination cards have dropped by half.

Check Point Software Technologies is known for its firewall and VPN products. The software company was founded in 1993. Among other endpoint security products, the company offers data security, network security, advanced threat prevention, forensics, endpoint detection and response (EDR), and remote access VPN solutions.

Photo by Fabian Hurnaus


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