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Where the coronavirus pandemic has been all about social safety protocols and vaccine distribution, a wide array of COVID-related frauds have been surfacing in different industries across the globe. Bad actors exploit various loopholes in existing systems to employ different impersonation techniques to conduct COVID scams. Owing to these instances, criminals are also involved in manipulating vaccine information and generating fraudulent COVID-19 certificates. The healthcare and travel sectors are the most affected since cyber actors hijack customer identity and use it to issue fake vaccine tests and reports.
This blog highlights trending COVID-related setbacks related to fake COVID vaccine passports and certificates and presents a viable solution, the COVID Certificate Verification, to combat underlying risks related to verifying COVID certificates and reports.
What is COVID Certificate Verification?
A COVID certificate is a document that acts as proof that someone is fully vaccinated and all doses have been successfully administered by an authentic laboratory or a public health programme. Verifying COVID certificates is essential especially when attending large-scale gatherings, travelling abroad, booking a hotel, etc.
Forged Vaccine Certificates – Australia’s COVID App Bug
Given the increasing need for COVID certificate verification, governments are starting to introduce country-wide programs and official applications that provide a single platform for immunization support and vaccine distribution. One such example is Australia’s Express Plus Medicare App that also allows citizens to download vaccine certifications at the comfort of their homes. Unfortunately, the application has been facing a lot of music recently after a software engineer named Richard Nelson shared a video of him generating a false vaccination status through the app. This security flaw has allowed fraudsters to bag a huge sum of money by selling fake COVID certificates worth $270 enabling unvaccinated people to bypass the system.
Telegram – A Burgeoning Threat of Fake Distributors
The Telegram messaging app was involved in enabling criminals to sell fake COVID tests and certificates, as highlighted by an Israeli cybersecurity firm called Check Point. As per the details, a Telegram chat group was selling fraudulent negative test reports since June 2021 to people returning from Ukraine for just $31. The security firm identified this phoney group and reported it to the federal law enforcement fraud-fighting unit.
BBB Warns About Ill-gotten COVID Vaccine Passports
COVID certificate verification has become increasingly important particularly when there are mounting risks of passports and tests being generated through illicit means. In this regard, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) – the US-based non-profit – has issued a warning that vaccine passport fraud is likely to increase exponentially since certificates are necessary almost everywhere when going outside. One of the main threats pointed out were phishing scams that could take the form of a seemingly official email from the government intended to steal personally identifiable information from citizens.
Another COVID-related scam mentioned by BBB was the use of fake QR codes on certificates and reports. For instance, while looking for QR code manipulations through a national digital pass program, fraudsters can confuse victims into believing that the code was scanned through their device, while in reality, the code was scanned from another device compromising sensitive identity information.
EU’s Take on Fraudulent COVID Test Reports
Verifying vaccine certificates is part and parcel of business operations these days. To reduce the spread of the virus, travel restrictions around the world have been revamped making sure no passenger leaves or enters a country without proper verification of their international certificate of vaccination. To cater to these restrictions and new procedures, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, Europol, investigated to find out about fake test certificates being sold to passengers and tourists willing to travel abroad. In a statement, Europol stated,
“As long as travel restrictions remain in place due to the Covid-19 situation, it is highly likely that production and sales of fake test certificates will prevail. Given the widespread technological means available, in the form of high-quality printers and different software, fraudsters are able to produce high-quality counterfeit, forged or fake documents.”
Regarding the surge in digitisation, the EU believes that businesses, on-the-go as well as governments, should take enforceable measures to make sure COVID testing for travel verification is carried out properly keeping intact the new restrictions.
Shufti Pro’s Covid Certificate Verification
Verifying COVID vaccine cards, test reports, and certificates is mandatory for the hospitality sector, travel agencies, public gathering sites, etc. To address public concerns and to meet subsequent health protocols, an automated solution that offers real-time authentication of COVID certificates, PCR tests and other related Electronic Health Records (EHRs) has become a pressing priority. Shufti Pro’s COVID Certificate Verification offers a single-place platform where different entities like hospitals, hotels, airports, and event organisers can instantly verify COVID-19 vaccine certificates to meet necessary obligations.
The service entails the following features enabling organisations a global coverage of authorised labs without any prior installation:
- Instant verification of COVID vaccine certificates
- On-the-go identity verification of the end-user
- Defence against all types of COVID-related fraud
- A panel of official labs authorised by the government
- No integration or installation required for authentication
- GDPR-certified data protection protocols and procedures
- Global compatibility supporting different languages and territories
- Option to integrate services, install the app or deploy touchless kiosks
Get in touch with our experts to know more about COVID Certificate Verification