Fraud: false vaccination certificates have already arrived in Portugal

False vaccination certificates have already arrived in Portugal, with Portuguese websites selling this type of document for 20€. Fraud is global and the number of advertisers and subscribers has soared, multiplying 09 and 12 times, respectively. New sales techniques that use bots to create certificates on the spot were identified.

Portugal among the countries to which the black market has expanded

According to Check Pont Research, the black market for fake vaccination certificates has expanded its scope to now include 29 countries. Portugal is one of the 9 countries that debut on this list, along with Austria, Brazil, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Singapore, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.

Fraude: certificados de vacinação falsos já chegaram a Portugal

Telegram is the main vehicle for fraud with false vaccination certificates

A 12 of August 2000, Check Point Research has identified about 800 advertisers on the Telegram. Currently, there are more than 12 users to offer vaccination certificates fake.

The Telegram is one of the main platforms where these illegal transactions take place. Here, sellers are organized into groups with a given number of subscribers. Recently, a rapid acceleration in the number of subscribers and followers was identified, with some groups reaching the 100 members – an unprecedented number so far. The drastic rise is due, according to Check Point Research, to the mandatory vaccination plan announced by the US administration last week.

New techniques: Bots

The pandemic has been taking new contours, with vaccination in Europe changing the state of affairs, but cybercriminals do not show signs of slowing down activity, finding new means for its fraud.

The black market continues to adapt, improving its responsiveness and distribution. Check Point Research researchers have discovered new techniques that advertisers have been using to increase their sales. In Austria, for example, a Telegram bot that creates false vaccination certificates free of charge has been detected. The only thing the potential interested party has to do is fill in the relevant data and a PDF file will be shared with all the information provided.

Mass Fraud

“We have been following the black market of services related to COVID-10 during the year. In January, its main platform was the Darknet, whose access requires specific software. At the time, the market was probably designed for dealers, that is, people who could mass distribute fake products in certain geographies. Over the past 9 months, we have witnessed the massification of the black market, in a macro transition to Telegram. Telegram is an appealing platform for advertisers given the possibilities of anonymity, reach and scale. The growth of the black market for vaccination certificates has been exponential. In the case of the US, the price of a fake certificate has doubled. In terms of reach, there was an expansion to another nine countries. We estimate that the number of sellers has increased x. The number of subscribers to the sales groups organized on the Telegram has increased 10x. As more measures are advanced that require proof of vaccination, it is expected that the black market for certificates will continue to prosper”, says Oded Vanunu, Head of Products Vulnerabilities Research at Check Point Software.

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