December 22, 2023

Fraudsters are directing people on Facebook to sites claiming to sell fake Covid vaccine passes for those who have not been jabbed, the BBC has found.

People in the UK are required to prove their vaccination status in order to access some places and to avoid self-isolation after travelling abroad.

But posts on the social media site are offering unvaccinated people false certification to get around the rules.

Facebook said it would remove the content “whenever we find it”.

NHS Covid passes were introduced in England in some settings, as part of the UK government’s Plan B measures in the wake of the Omicron coronavirus variant spreading rapidly.

“We were finding passes, certificates, cards, vaccine cards, even down to choice of what vaccine you wanted recording on the card,” said Jonathan Benton, who runs cyber investigation firm Intelligent Sanctuary.

Mr Benton, a former senior detective, said a range of passes were available for sale, ranging from some which are legitimate cards but fraudulently filled in, to complete forgeries.

Covid certificates have been found for sale alongside drugs, weapons and stolen goods on the dark web, with sellers claiming to provide documentation from many countries, including the US and the EU.

A government spokesperson said: “Fraud is a crime and falsifying evidence of Covid-19 status could not only put lives at risk but lead to a £10,000 fine.

“The NHS Covid Pass is a safe, secure and free way for individuals to share their…

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