Fake Covid Vaccination Cards Are on the Rise in the U.S., Europe

The Wall Street Journal:

As Covid-19 vaccine mandates proliferate in the U.S. and Europe, so are swindlers selling bogus vaccination certificates.

The U.S. government has said federal workers must be vaccinated or submit to regular testing, mask requirements and social distancing. California requires state employees to be vaccinated or tested at least once a week. New York state will soon follow and New York City plans to require proof of vaccination for customers and staff at restaurants and gyms.

Employers such as Walt Disney Co. , Walmart Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Tyson Foods Inc. are requiring vaccination for at least some of their employees.

Proof of vaccination is required in parts of the U.S. and Europe to dine indoors, go to museums and attend large sporting events.

The spread of such rules has created a market for counterfeit certificates for the unvaccinated. In recent weeks, schemes to sell illegal proof of vaccination have multiplied on social-media sites, messaging apps such as Telegram and on the dark web, according to government investigators and cybersecurity experts.

“As a segment of the population tries to avoid the new measures, the dark net reacts to the real market and thus demand gives birth to offers,” said Dmitry Galov, a researcher at cybersecurity firm Kaspersky who has been tracking the sale of fake certificates since March.

In the U.S., fake vaccination cards purportedly issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have appeared for sale on sites such as Amazon, eBay and Etsy. In May, officers arrested a bar owner in California for allegedly selling fake vaccination cards costing $20 each. The alleged perpetrator was charged with identity theft, forging government documents and falsifying medical records.

“While we do not have definitive numbers, we are seeing more of these types of schemes recently,” a Justice Department spokesman said.

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