There is no such thing as a fake COVID vaccination certificate because everyone who tries to get one becomes a scam victim. No ifs and buts – if you are silly enough not to get a vaccination, you are stupid enough to get scammed.
The first scam is to several websites heavily promoted on Facebook and Telegram in anti-vaxxer circles. The fee varies, but it is usually around $100. You must enter your credit card details and Medicare number and full name, address, phone number and date of birth. Friendly looking Aussie faces from Byron Bay, Moonee Ponds, Darlinghurst and more adorn the site pushing the anti-vax message – except that these are all fakes too.
Now you have given the cybercriminal enough details to steal your identity or on-sell it to the Dark Web, where it rounds out your ID Theft profile. And you have given your credit card number, expiry date and CVV – the crims are having a field day selling those details to minions who can conduct $99 purchases without a pin.
The second scam is an SMS message from COVIDSafe or BECOVIDsafe, and that you can get a fake digital version by clicking the link. From there, it rips you off in the same way or worse still, loads malware on your phone and steals other details.
The third scam is evolving but centres around a fake COVIDsafe app that allows you to pretend to check in and show the tick and vaccination certificate. We say evolving because there are different state apps and hopefully a national app soon, and the cybercriminals have not quite got that right yet. And yes, it also loads malware.
Other COVID vaccination scams
Several SMS messages scams purport to be from legitimate sounding health organisations (Like the National Health Service) that offer to fast track your second vaccination. They include links that load malware.
Some doctors will complete the Medicare claim showing a vaccinated person and tip the vaccine down the drain. It is extremely risky as it is a federal offence as fines and jail time apply, and the doctor struck off the medical register.
Check Point, a leading anti-virus and malware company, found that fake certificates are being offered by more than 10,000 ‘vendors’ on Telegram and in 29 countries. The extent of the fraud could be in millions. The typical Aussie price is $110 including, rather cheekily 10% GST.
How to spot a fake COVID vaccination certificate
At present, the Government is incorporating more anti-fraud measures like a shimmering coat of arms and hidden pixels that must be there to work with the State and Medicare apps. But that is not to say the cybercriminals won’t work that out too. Then there is work on blockchain and digital signatures. It all has to be fool-proof by the time international borders reopen.