Fake Covid Certificates, Stolen Vaccines Sold on Dark Web for Bitcoin

The dark web vendors like the ubiquity and anonymity of the top cryptocurrencies, a new report said.

Jul 2, 2021 at 1:14 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 1:20 p.m. UTC

Fake COVID-19 vaccination certificates, stolen vaccines and falsified doctors' signatures are being sold on the dark web for bitcoin.

According to a report on Thursday from blockchain analytics company Coinfirm, vendors have been selling the certificates and vaccines in exchange for a range of cryptos, including bitcoin, ether, dash, litecoin, tron, monero and zcash.

Coinfirm says those kinds of crypto are being chosen because of their ubiquity or the anonymity they offer as privacy coins.

One particular dark web vendor, known as the "COVID-19 Vaccine Shop," appears to be selling vaccines in bulk from AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BionTech, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Sputnik V, Coinfirm reported.

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Screenshot of the ‘COVID-19 vaccine’ shop

The report also said fake COVID-19 certificates, which were part of a "probable health sector corruption" from multiple vendors in the U.S., Russia and other countries, were being sold.

Not only were fake certificates masquerading as proof of vaccination being sold to clients, but their details were being entered into national health systems wherein certain instances doctors' signatures were found.

One bitcoin address that received funds for fraudulent vaccine certificates belonged to an exchange registered in Hong Kong that caters "strongly to Eastern European clientele," Coinfirm said.

CoinDesk attempted to clarify which exchange Coinfirm was referring to and how it identified Eastern Europeans as a major market but did not receive a reply to a request for comment by press time.

Coinfirm did mention, however, the well-worn issue regarding certain exchanges lacking "know-your-customer" (KYC) controls, allowing for an "easy" fiat on/off ramp for criminals to cash out.

"It is for these reasons that every obliged entity should institute rigorous KYC policies," Coinfirm said.

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