Vaccination against scammers

Against the background of the gradual opening of borders in May and the holiday season, the number of resources on which certificates of vaccination against coronavirus and other related certificates are sold has increased in Runet. Such ads can be found on regular websites, Telegram channels, or shadow forums. The cost of certificates reaches 20 thousand rubles. Sometimes this “business” is organized by health workers, but most of them are fraudsters, experts say. Buyers of such certificates face criminal liability, lawyers warn.

In May, about 360 new domains appeared, related to the sale of certificates of vaccination against coronavirus, calculated the Telegram channel In4security. Domains are mostly created new, but there are also sites that were created in the past years, and now have expanded the range of fakes, says co-founder of the StopPhish project Yuri Drugach. According to him, on such resources, certificates of medical withdrawal from vaccinations appeared. “We also offer certificates on the presence of antibodies and PCR analysis for coronavirus,” In4security reports.

According to Bi.Zone, 51 sites were registered in May with the word “cert” combined with the words “vaccin”, “covid” and “kovid”, while in March and April there were 42 such registrations, and in February – 18. …

Now there are no signs of selling fake vaccination certificates on the websites, but they may appear, said Evgeny Voloshin, director of the company’s expert services block.

The offers of such services are divided into two types, says Alexander Chernykhov, a leading expert in the Information Security direction of the Croc IT company. “The first and most massive group of offers are scammers who used to massively create fake pages offering paid vaccinations,” he notes.

The second group, according to him, is the sale of real certificates, which may be related to the human factor: “In this case, it is likely that information about vaccination will actually be entered in the register of public services.” It can be assumed that the organization of such a business could not do without “his own person at the vaccination station” who vaccinates the “invisible man” and makes the necessary entries in the register, notes In4security.

Now search engines “are good at cleaning the issuance of sites selling fake certificates,” so trade is moving to Telegram, says the leading analyst at SearchInform Leonid Churikov.

Most of the channels and groups that can be found on inquiry purchase requests were created in late March, when there was a previous surge in sales, he said. Then a decline followed, and since the end of May there has been another increase in offers, the expert notes. In Bi.Zone, shadow forums are considered the main channel for selling fake vaccination certificates: at least 26 advertisements for the sale of certificates were posted on them, 12 of them were published in May.

The growth in the number of advertisements for the sale of certificates is associated with the gradual opening of borders for tourist trips: many countries require upon arrival either a fresh PCR test or a vaccination certificate, notes Evgeny Voloshin. The demand is also spurred by the fact that some employers require employees to be vaccinated, says Yury Drugach.

The cost of a certificate in most ads on shadow forums and Telegram channels is 2-5 thousand rubles, and the terms of their production start from one day, follows from the data of In4security. At the same time, the production time for a real certificate is 22 days, it is noted in the channel. According to Yuri Drugach, there are also prices of 20 thousand rubles: “Such sellers promise to enter data on vaccination in the” official register “”. According to the expert, cybercriminals and buyers expect that the verifiers will not be able or do not know how to verify the authenticity of the document.

The use of a knowingly forged document may be the basis for criminal liability under Art. 327 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, if it is established that this document grants rights or relieves of obligations, says Vadim Klyuvgant, partner of the Pen & Paper Bar Association. “In this case, for example, it is a prerequisite for the carriage of a passenger,” the expert explains. In addition, he added, concealing information about the presence of a risk of infection in this way may entail criminal or administrative liability for violation of sanitary and epidemiological requirements.

Yulia Stepanova