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The Vaccine Scams are just beginning

The Vaccine Scams are just beginning-canada-mileniostadium
Créditos: DR

With the economy starting to reopen and bringing some type of normalcy to the way which we do things, the government is telling us that we need to be vaccinated twice and show proof thereof before we enter an establishment or event. This mandated system or whatever you want to call it, has developed an underground marketplace for people who try to blend in with the rest of society.

Let me explain…

There is a growing demand for fake vaccine passports in the dark web, and several nefarious suppliers are entering the black marketplace to address the needs of a substantial faction of our society who is still not vaccinated and never will be. Vaccinated travelers who wish to be considered for reduced public health measures must meet all government criteria, including the electronic submission of their vaccination documentation into the system prior to arrival in Canada.

The problem that still exists is there is no global standard for vaccine documentation, and that some travelers may attempt to use fraudulent documentation when seeking entry to Canada. We are still working with domestic and international partners to detect and intercept such documents as early as possible in the travel continuum, but the scam is so tempting and getting access to fake documentation is starting to become easier. Cyber criminals are exploiting the confusion around vaccine passports to sell fake credentials and steal sensitive information, as the federal government races to put together a fully functioning proof of vaccination.

With vaccination certificates set to dictate whether a person can travel overseas or participate in public activities, security software company check point’s research has found sellers of fake vaccine certificates have increased from about 1000 in August to more than 10,000 this month, with criminals utilizing a range of tactics to collect cash and credentials. Cyber criminals, obviously, are trying to leverage the news of the day, and right now that’s vaccine certificates and vaccine passports.

Fake vaccination certificates for 28 countries, including Canada, were also being sold online by cyber criminals to individuals who don’t want to get vaccinated. Some certificates go for as low as $100, rather than lurking on the dark web. On a personal note, l know of a family that are huge anti vaxxers and found someone to get them fake passports’ at a cost of over $40,000. As l said, right now there is no real way to quickly validate if a vaccine certificate is actually fake or legitimate, and cyber criminals are using that to their advantage.

Many of these fake certificates and passports can be easily manipulated using various self-editing tools and there are some unbelievable fake documents out there. As quickly as the government processing gets better, the criminals are just as good in reproducing fake documents.

But the real question is, why are folks still not getting vaccinated?

When you really speak with folks who have admitted not taking the vaccine for a number of reasons, they all have their own theories and most of them will do anything including paying to function within a system that the non-vaccinated disapprove of. In my small sampling and simple polling of folks that have not taken the vaccine, they are 100% committed to not doing so, but the most interesting thing is that they all want to participate in a system that they don’t believe in. But the mind-blowing aspect of this sector, is that they will do almost anything to get these fake certificates and passports. In fact, vaccine passport apps are already in use at some places. Right now, on certain flights to Hawaii, passengers can use an app to show they meet Hawaii’s negative COVID-19 test requirements. New York State launched Excelsior Pass, an app that pulls from the state’s COVID-19 vaccine registry to confirm vaccination status. Internationally, Israel has rolled out an app to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning that scammers are also sending out texts and e-mails promising to get you to the front of the line to get the vaccine or even to get paid to receive it. The BBB says there are scam texts stating you could take part in a clinical trial and make money doing it. Along with fake vaccination offers there are scam COVID-19 tests being sold online and fake contact tracing requests designed to get your personal information.

This faction of the population that will not take the vaccine has created an underground business that will not go away until this vaccine is mandated by governments, but even then, the non-believers will always be out there. However, all of the reasons people provide for not getting vaccinated, from lack of access, to conspiracy theories, share a common theme… a significant portion of Canadians don’t believe the vaccines are worth the potential downsides.

Everything officials and experts are now doing to vaccinate more Canadians is in effect meant to counteract this theme. Better access would mitigate a major downside and incentives could push the vaccine over the top.

If vaccination measures are successful, the country could truly defeat COVID-19. But if enough people believe the downsides are still bad, the threat of the virus will lurk for years to come.

Get the vaccine… its best for all…

Vince Nigro/MS

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