Fake Covid vaccine and test certificate market is growing

More than 1,200 vendors operating in the UK and worldwide, offering false documents for as little as £25.

A hidden pandemic market advertising fake COVID vaccine and test certificates for as little as £25 has grown exponentially, with more than 1,200 vendors in the UK and worldwide, researchers have found.

After UK ministers announced the return of overseas holidays – with travellers required to show proof of negative tests, and vaccine passports on the horizon – the Guardian has also learned that anti-vaxxers and people arriving in Britain from poorer nations make up a significant number of those buying forged pandemic paraphernalia.

Last month MPs were told that more than 100 people a day are trying to enter the UK using fake Covid test certificates as individuals attempt to get around current entry requirements, which include tests before and after travel and can cost individuals hundreds of pounds.

Israel-based researchers found evidence of forgeries of vaccine cards by the NHS and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) alongside fake test certificates, all available for sale on the dark web and through easy-to-access platforms including the messaging apps WhatsApp, Telegram and Jabber.

Products purported to be Covid vaccines and treatments are also offered, according to Oded Vanunu and Liad Mizrachi of the cybersecurity firm Check Point.

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