The 2022 arrived and Covid-19 returned to have a high transmission rate, mainly due to the omicron variant. As a result, several countries began to require the vaccine passport to confirm the vaccination cycle or negative vaccination test against the disease. So fraudsters are taking advantage of this demand to sell fake vaccination and PCR test certificates on the illegal market via Telegram.
According to data collected by Check Point Software, interested parties are paying approximately US$ 600 (about R$ 3,300) for a false negative PCR test. What is most surprising is that tests sold in 2021, before the omicron, were normally between US$75 (R$413.50) and US$100 (R$551.20). This variation represents an increase of 600%.
At least one group of forgers was active during the delta wave, the security firm explains. It was silent in October of last year, but it resurfaced with the omicron. During the delta variation, Check Point counted up to 10,000 salespeople in Telegram groups with more than 300,000 people.
“Without a centralized system for certifying tests and vaccines, it is all too easy for scammers to exploit the current situation to their advantage. That’s certainly what we’re seeing here, with some groups of fraudsters that have been dormant for months resurfacing to ‘harvest’ on what they can from the changing pandemic landscape.” explains Liad Mizrachi, security expert at Check Point Software.
Counterfeiting in Brazil
In September of last year, Check Point had discovered this type of illegal trade in Brazil during the delta variant. At the time, the price charged was US$ 80. Now, no new group operating in the country has been found. The Mobile Time portal got in touch with Fernando de Falchi, the company’s security engineering manager, who says that the growth of this market is exponential in the world: “Some offers are not only restricted to darkweb but also on Telegram with fake certificate offers”.
Although Check Point has not found groups recently, Globo made a complaint about the sale of fake tests through social networks in Paraná. The Civil Police of the region investigates the sale of fake tests for Gusttavo Lima’s show on a social network. A health worker in the municipality of Foz do Iguaçu reported the situation to the police after seeing a post on the internet and talking to an embezzler.
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