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Fake Covid vaccine passports are illegally being sold online – and for enough money you can even get your name onto the official database, forgers say.
After mainstream sites such as eBay and Twitter stepped up efforts to make sure users couldn’t sell the counter-fit cards, fraudsters turned to messaging app Telegram.
With over 500 million users around the world and securely encrypted messages, it’s hard for the law to monitor and control.
Criminals have flocked to the site to offer their services helping people secure the jab’s paperwork without actually being inoculated.
One part of the site called “Covid19 vaccine cards certificate” has almost half a million followers, reports Slate.
The cost of one registered card is $200 (£147) and the seller claims they’re all authentic, saying: “We have professional and licensed doctors working with us who are deep in the game and have access to all the medical databases.
“I get a doctor register whatever info on the card into the system so it will be as if you are vaccinated.”
Alternatively, punters can buy an unregistered blank card for $100 (£72).
Sellers ship all over the world and there’s evidence the fake passports are available in the UK, the US, New Zealand and Europe.
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Last week, Italian cyber cops seized access to and shut down 10 channels on Telegram which were selling the counter-fit docs, reports Euronews.
But not all sellers promising vaccine passports are real and hundreds of people have been scammed.
In the UK, experts have questioned the scammers’ ability to access a doctor’s records or hack a secure NHS system.
Vaccine fraudsters have been cracked down on by British police who have been encouraged to adopt a QR code system across all official documentation.
BBC researchers say they have seen a "sharp increase" in vaccine-related darknet adverts.
Under current UK plans, vaccine passports can be used to get into festivals and mass sporting events.
But you won’t be made to show proof of a double-jab to get into restaurants or bars.
- Covid vaccine
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