Skip to Content
© Jj Gouin | Dreamstime.com
Coronavirus

Pharmacist faces 120 years in prison for selling fake vaccination cards – Here’s what the punishment is if you buy one

Thanks to the Delta variant, we’re seeing a spike in fake vaccine cards on Dark Web black markets. Tap or click here to track the Delta variant. When you buy a fake vaccination card, you’re opening yourself up to a world of danger. Sure, you can head to offices or other places that are requiring vaccines — but you could also find yourself in the back seat of a police car.

This is true for both buyers and sellers. Police arrested Illinois pharmacist Tangtang Zhao recently. They charged him with selling authentic COVID-19 vaccination cards the CDC had sent him. Allegedly, he sold 134 cards to 11 buyers, raking in a profit of about $1,276 (that’s about $10 per card).

If he’s found guilty, Zhao could spend up to 120 years in prison. Suffice it to say, these types of dealings are always risky and should be avoided. Keep reading to find out why buying a fake vaccination card is such a bad idea.

Here’s the backstory

Cybersecurity firm Check Point Research reported a rise in fake vaccination cards sold on the Dark Web. They can be had for as little as $100, they were going for $200 in March. Fake PCR tests and CDC, NHS and EU Digital COVID certificates are available for many countries, including the U.S., U.K., Switzerland, Pakistan, Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Indonesia, France and Germany.

Check Point Research

Check Point saw a 257% increase in fake vaccination card sellers on Telegram since March. Group followership increased by 566% and is well into the millions.

The advertisements tout freedom to work and travel and that its cards are registered and verified with the NHS, CDC and EDU databases.

Sellers can be contacted via Telegram, WhatsApp, Wickr, Jabber or email. Payment can be made via PayPal and cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin, Monero, Dogecoin, Litecoin and Ethereum and others.

Check Point Research

Keep away from the darkness

The issue here is not so much about the decision to get the shot as much as avoiding business dealings with sellers of this type. The Dark Web is a marketplace for illegal and dangerous trade including drugs, weapons, exploitation of minors and more. Many data breach victims have their information sold there as well.

Beyond that, the penalties for this are pretty stiff. The Department of Justice says misrepresenting official government seals, including the CDC logo on vaccine cards violates federal law. The violation could result in up to five years in prison or a $5,000 fine.

Federal authorities monitor the Dark Web and you could get involved in something big without meaning to. Tap or click here to learn about the dangers of fake vaccines sold online.

Keep reading

As COVID cases increase, so do related scams – What to watch out for

Don’t make these mistakes with your COVID vaccine card

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, advice, or health objectives.

Ask me your digital question!

Navigating the digital world can be intimidating and sometimes downright daunting. Let me help! Reach out today to ask your digital question. You might even be on my show!

Ask Me