Tuesday 23 March 2021 10:14 am

Fraudsters flog vaccines and vaccine passports on dark web

Unscrupulous scammers are flogging Covid-19 vaccines, vaccine passports and fake negative test results on the dark web as they take advantage of the pandemic.

Doses of the Astrazeneca, Sputnik, Sinopharm and Johnson & Johnson jabs are being advertised for sale for as much as $750 (£545).

Read more: US trials show Astrazeneca vaccine safe from blood clot risk and highly effective

Fake vaccination certificates are also being sold by anonymous traders for as little as $150, a BBC investigation revealed.

It is not clear whether the jabs are real, but researchers say they have seen a “sharp increase” in the number of vaccine-related adverts.

Experts at cyber firm Check Point said adverts on hacking forums and other marketplaces have tripled since January to more than 1,200.

Vaccine sellers appear to be from US, UK, Spain, Germany, France, while a number of adverts were posted in Russian as well as English.

The jabs advertised include the Oxford/Astrazeneca for $500, Johnson & Johnson and Sputnik for $600 and Sinopharm for $750. One seller offered next-day delivery.

Other fraudulent posts include fake negative tests, which are promoted as allowing people to travel abroad or for entry into hospitality venues if required.

“Seeking out vaccines or any drug on the dark web is asking for trouble, as it comes with zero confidence that what is being sold is what is being described,” said Jake Moore, cybersecurity specialist at ESET.

Read more: Trust in AstraZeneca vaccine plummets further across Europe

“The dark web sells absolutely anything and is often linked to illegal goods and services. This is due to the anonymity that the technology offers, but there is no comeback or security if anything goes wrong when purchasing goods or services there and it is advised to steer well clear of any temptation.

“It could be highly dangerous to purchase drugs from underground marketplaces as the more demand there is, the more illicit suppliers there will be to keep up with these new requests.”

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