As France continues to crack down on citizens that have not yet been vaccinated against Covid-19, there has been an opportunity for fraudsters to create and sell fake Covid passes, according to a variety of sources.
The country started enforcing a law in recent weeks that is requiring that all persons have a Covid-19 pass to visit nearly any public place, which has created a black market for those willing to create, sell, and purchase fraudulent documents to go to public places that were once open to everyone.
One of the mediums used to sell these fake Covid passes is Snapchat, where sellers can counterfeit the documents now required by the French government. The main target market for the counterfeiters is people who do not wish to get vaccinated but would still want to do all the things that they used to be allowed to do in their country.
“Vaccination becomes optional thanks to our service,” one account reads.
Prices for the passes typically range from €140 to €350, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report.
According to the same report, these Snapchat users only asked buyers for their name, national insurance number, email, and mailing address in order to receive the fake certificates.
Although the process for actually getting the certificates is not advertised by the sellers, some actually have buyers’ information registered by real doctors into the databases that were created to store vaccination materials.
“I send your information to my supplier doctor who registers you on ameli.fr and TousAntiCovid,” said another counterfeiter.
Counterfeit Covid passes do come with consequences, however, as buyers of the passes can face up to three years imprisonment and sellers can face a €150,000 fine and/or up to five years imprisonment.
Meanwhile, Italy is experiencing a similar black market, with counterfeited Covid passes being commonly sold on the messaging app Telegram.
Prices for these certificates are usually around €100, according to sources investigating the issue.
Italy’s fake Covid certificates are related to the similarly restrictive laws passed in the country in relation to France, which has opened up their own black market for counterfeited documents.
As more Member States pass more restrictive laws, more black markets for fraudulent ‘vaccine passports’ are expected to arise.