Saturday, 18 September, 2021

Italy disrupts selling fake corona passes

ROME: Fake versions of anti-Covid “green passes” have begun to circulate in Italy just days after they were introduced, police said on Monday, adding they had broken up a network selling false evidence of vaccination, recovery or testing, reports AFP

The police said they had identified four suspects, including two minors, in an ongoing investigation.

“Thousands of users were registered on well-known communication platforms where fake green passes were offered for sale, with an absolute guarantee of anonymity, to be paid in cryptocurrency or vouchers for online shopping platforms, at a price between 150 and 500 euro ($175 to $590),” Italy’s postal police said in a statement.

Police added they had confiscated 32 groups within Telegram—an instant messaging app—in the investigation.

The green pass, an extension of the European Union’s digital Covid-19 certification, became compulsory on Friday in Italy to gain entry into cinemas, museums, indoor sports venues, or for indoor dining at restaurants.

The pass shows that bearers have been received at least one vaccine dose, have recovered from Covid-19 within the past six months, or have tested negative in the previous 48 hours.

It will also be required on long-distance trains and buses after September 1, and will be mandatory for school and university staff as well as university students.

The police probe came as 20 million Italian downloaded their green passes in the past three days, according to Health Minister Roberto Speranza.

“It’s an extraordinary number that shows the awareness and participation of citizens of our country in the fight against Covid,” Speranza wrote on Facebook Monday.