Thursday, December 9, 2021

Revealed: The big business with illegal vaccination certificates

Revealed: The big business with illegal vaccination certificates

The increased control pressure from the police and employers apparently drives many Austrians unwilling to vaccinate into illegality. Counterfeits of corona vaccination certificates are being exchanged more and more often. And that despite the threat of severe penalties.

Rene Rabeder
23 November 2021 13:20

It sounds banal. A young woman would like to party again in Graz on the Thursday before the lockdown. Problem with the matter: she is neither vaccinated against Covid nor recovered. So the Styrian decides to forge her mother’s certificate. It happened as it had to – a check at the entrance of a pub revealed discrepancies regarding the date of birth. It is now reported to the district administrative authority for violating the Covid-19 measures and the Graz public prosecutor’s office for forgery of documents.

Lots of fakes from the Balkans

Less banal than the crime may sound at first glance, are the punishments that the young woman now faces. The administrative penalty is set by the district administration and can amount to up to 500 euros. Bad enough. Even worse is that under the Criminal Code. This is determined by the court and this can be up to one year in prison.

“We don’t turn a blind eye!” Explains the deputy director of the Federal Criminal Police Office, Manuel Scherscher. He declares war on vaccination record forgers. Since the introduction of the 3G rule, it is high season for counterfeiters. There are of course no exact figures for the self-made ID cards. One thing is clear: “There are more and more, the stricter the rules, the more interesting it becomes for counterfeiters.” This year, the specialists have already withdrawn fakes from high-risk areas and the Balkan countries, reports “Today”.

Evil is always and everywhere

It is really not easy for investigators. Some of the fakes look deceptively real. It’s small details. They may catch the eye of the criminalist’s trained eye. The waitress in the restaurant didn’t. Not even with the certificates, which are made particularly cheaply. “Cheap” is the key word. They can be found online for just a few euros.

The vaccination record scene is mainly active in messenger groups. Mainly on Telegram. But the authorities are not alone in their fight against counterfeiters. Investigators can increasingly rely on informers from the population. “There is now an incredible amount of scarring,” says Markus Angerer, head of the counterfeiting department. The unvaccinated neighbor goes to the hairdresser, the corona-critical aunt sits with the landlord. Many Austrians pick up the phone and call the police. It is difficult to keep track of things. “We are often filled with information with garbage,” says Angerer.

Evil is always and everywhere. Vaccination pass forgers can be found among young people, university professors, mechanics and saleswomen.

Do you know someone who has a forged vaccination certificate?

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