Fake vax certificates sold for Rs 5,500 on Telegram: Report

New Delhi, Sep 17: Amid vaccine mandates, fake vaccination certificates and test results are being sold on Telegram for around Rs 5,500 in India, a report said on Thursday.

According to Check Point Research (CPR), the black market for fake vaccine certificates has expanded globally, now selling certificates in 29 countries, including India, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand.

Since March, CPR has spotted over 5,000 Telegram groups selling fake documents, making it the primary selling platform.

“Vendors are choosing to advertise and do business on Telegram because Telegram is less technical to use as compared to the Darknet, allowing them to reach an inordinate amount of people at a fast pace,” Oded Vanunu, Head of Products, Vulnerability Research, Check Point Software Technologies, said in a statement.

“We believe the broader market surge is fuelled by the rapidly spreading Delta variant and the stemming urgency for everyone to become vaccinated. There are people who do not want to take the vaccine, but still want the freedoms that come with being vaccinated such as access to places,” Vanunu added.

In India, various state governments have mandated certain regulations for those undertaking inter-state travel by road or air to mitigate the further spread of the virus. Travellers are required to have a negative Covid-19 test result (RT-PCR report) or a vaccination certificate to enter states like Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand etc.

These states have seen a large influx of tourists following the second wave of the pandemic in India.

“Since March 2021, prices for fake vaccination cards have dropped by half and online groups for these fraudulent coronavirus services boast followings of hundreds of thousands of people,” Vanunu said.