The sales are probably meant for further scams and fraudulent resale because ordinary buyers will have no use for the duds.
Desperate to get vaccinated sooner than what your country’s vaccination program is offering you?
The good news is that you can now find advertisements for three major COVID vaccines (Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca, and Moderna) and some unverified “COVID19” vaccines.
The bad news is that vaccines from shady places cannot be trusted at all.
According to researchers from Kaspersky that were monitoring dark web activity, the majority of sellers were from France, Germany, the UK, and the USA, and prices per dose ranged from US$250 to US$1,200, with an average cost of about US$500. Communications have to be made via encrypted messaging apps like Wickr and Telegram, while payments are requested in the form of cryptocurrency, primarily bitcoin.
Vaccinate yourself? Who can validate it?
The majority of these underground sellers have made between 100 and 500 transactions, indicating that they have been chalking up sales. However, what exactly Darknet users are purchasing (and using the products for) remains unclear. It is impossible to tell how many of the vaccine doses being advertised online are actual doses (many medical facilities have found themselves with potentially-harmful leftover doses) and how many advertisements are a scam.
More importantly, obtaining such doses is illegal, and even if buyers managed to get real workable vaccines (which need to be transported in super cold containers until usage), they would not be able to get formal certification of the validity of the vaccination.
Said one of the firm’s security experts Dmitry Galov: “You can find just about anything on the Darknet, so it’s not surprising sellers there would attempt to capitalize on the vaccination campaign. Right now, not only are people selling vaccine doses, but they’re also selling vaccination records—pieces of paper that can help you travel freely. It’s important for users to be cautious of any ‘deal’ related to the pandemic, and, of course, it’s never a good idea to buy a vaccine off the Darknet.”