Buying and selling fake vaccine cards have gone rampant on the messaging platform Telegram. Darknet vendors took advantage of the program's encryption features to boost its sales by 200 percent.
Millions of Americans struggle with the increase of vaccine mandates across the country. These citizens decline getting inoculated against coronavirus and have turned to ingenious ways to get "vaccinated."
For this reason, fake and fraudulent coronavirus services saw an increase in their markets.
Fake COVID-19 Vaccine Cards For Sale!
Note, however, that buying and selling fake vaccine cards is a federal crime. Government agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) work tirelessly to arrest anyone who partakes in these sales.
These criminals have taken over Telegram to hide their transactions.
Telegram is a popular messaging platform similar in function to WhatsApp, WeChat and Viber. However, Telegram offers extra and unique features, particularly with user privacy. As reported by The Indian Express, here are 10 privacy features found in Telegram:
- Lock Chats: Lock specific chat conversations with a PIN or phone fingerprint sensor.
- Secret Chats: End-to-end encrypted messages.
- Self-Destructing Media: Deletes records of messages and accounts after a certain period of time.
- Two-Step Verification: Culd be toggled on to request verification every time user login with a new or old device.
- Proxy Servers: Lets users hide their IP address.
- Delete Sender's Message:Private one-on-one chats allow users to delete messages of the sender, aside from their own.
- Full control over group contacts: Lets users categorize their contacts in groups and customize notifications. Includes blacklist and whitelist function.
- Clear Payment and Shipping Info: Lets users pay via Telegram and delete transaction details.
- Complete List of Active Telegram Sessions: Full details on all devices with user Telegram account logged in. Includes function to activate or deactivate the session.
- "Delete My Account" Timer: User option to delete their account and all its content permanently.
Telegram App Scam: Beware of Fake COVID-19 Cards
Aside from the illegal nature of these transactions, users are warned against sharing personal information. Sources from the Business Insider posed as potential buyers and learned that fake vaccine vendors ask many intrusive questions and personal details. Some of the questions asked are:
- Full name
- Full address
- Email Address
- Current Workplace
- Banking information
Notably, the vendor asked for a lot more information than what is required from a fake vaccine card. User personal data could potentially be used for other malicious activities, like identity theft or hacking bank accounts.
As reported by Business Insider, a spokesperson from the cybersecurity data firm Check Point Research said, "Advertisements being extended on social media platforms are ultimately funneling [users] to a darker, more dangerous criminal world with these vendors on Telegram, and these Telegram vendors are likely an extension of darknet vendors."
Telegram is generally a great messaging platform with many unique and helpful features. However, malicious actors have exploited these functions to commit illegal activities and new scam strategies.
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