How scammers make money on anti-vaccines on the Internet

(ORDO NEWS) — Those who purchase illegal vaccination certificates are filling the black market with their data.

At the end of October – at the beginning of November, the demand for obtaining vaccination certificates increased in Russia, which was recorded by search engines. In response, the RuNet market issued hundreds of offers to issue an illegal document and receive a QR code through the State Services, on which fraudsters began to make money. URA.RU tested how the criminal scheme works and warns readers of the danger.

The introduction of the QR code system has generated thousands of offers for the sale of vaccination certificates and PCR tests in Telegram channels and on shady Internet sites. By mid-November, only in the Telegram messenger, you can find dozens, if not hundreds of channels with offers to purchase a QR code, which, according to promises, will be officially registered on the State Services portal.

In particular, a certificate of vaccination with entry into the register costs from 4 to 5 thousand rubles. Sellers also offer to purchase a PCR test, which will be taken into account in the clinic’s database (Invitro / GEMOTEST). This service is estimated at 2 thousand rubles. A medical withdrawal from vaccination will cost a little more – 3 thousand rubles.

Formally, the audience of Telegram channels studied by URA.RU is quite impressive. In particular, one of those found has a single post offering a certificate or a PCR test – more than 100 thousand subscribers. At the same time, there are strong arguments in favor of the fact that these are not real users, but bots.

Internet communications specialist Arseny Kamyshev, in particular, was alarmed that with the declared number of subscribers the advertising post had only 8 thousand views, which is clearly disproportionate. Nevertheless, for persuasiveness, the owner of the TG channel, when communicating with potential buyers, trumps customer reviews.

An anti-vaccine person who wants to purchase a vaccination certificate for himself only needs to send his personal data to the channel operator and transfer the required amount to the card. In exchange for money, the buyer will receive a QR code within a few hours, which will be officially registered. After the transfer of funds and presentation of the check, the operator of the Telegram channel blocks the buyer, who is left with nothing.

The seller not only receives money, but also the buyer’s personal data (full name, SNILS, passport number and phone number). It is quite possible that this is how vast databases are collected, which then surface on shady forums. The identified database contains data for only 500 thousand residents of the Moscow region and is sold for 8.5 thousand rubles per 1000 lines.

Group-IB experts found more than 3 thousand offers for the sale of QR codes, certificates and PCR tests in Telegram channels, on shadow forums and in social networks. In the autumn months, the number of such offers increased 20 times compared to the summer period.

“Buyers of forged documents do not advertise illegal acquisition, therefore, it is rather difficult to track the dynamics in both directions (whether they received the document or not). If we count on offers with the lowest prices, which are most likely fraudulent, then there are only a few such offers, ”the press service of Group-IB says.

Discovered URA.RU Telegram channels offer an approximately equal price range – from 3 to 6 thousand rubles, and as evidence they even cite all the same screenshots with reviews. It is possible that all these are fraudulent channels either copying each other or belonging to the same persons. Therefore, the thesis of the experts that the fraudulent offers in the market of fake QR-codes of the unit may be erroneous. The sums that anti-vaccination agents transfer to deceivers can amount to tens of millions of rubles.

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