Fake digital vaccine passports showing up on the NHS app

Fake digital Covid passport

Anybody who is vaccinated people, or has a NHS Covid pass, is exempt from the UK’s regulations that insist on quarantine on arrival from official amber-list countries. Criminals have been fast to get on board and forgeries appear to be freely available – but they are expensive and you don’t know how well they will work in any given scenario.

How digital Covid passes work

The UK Government website explains that “You can access your NHS COVID Pass through the free NHS App on a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. Proof of your COVID-19 status will be shown within the NHS App.”

Once you have downloaded the NHS app to your phone, you enter your details and the system pulls your vaccination record for a central database. It then displays a QR code on your phone as evidence. This QR coe can be checked if needs be. It is quite simple really.

One would think that a digital pass is secure and far harder to forge than a paper version. However, anecdotal evidence says otherwise, with reports of faked passes appearing within the NHS app.

How to obtain a genuine digital Covid Pass

The digital pass is simply a QR code, a type of barcode, that can be scanned by a verification system. This can be downloaded from the NHS website or from the NHS app. The system asks for the applicant’s name, their DOB, post code and NHS number. No need to contact your GP or surgery.

There are options to receive it via email or download it as a PDF document that you can print, or request it in the post.

Here is an excellent NHS video and a page that explains it all, “How to use the NHS App to demonstrate your NHS COVID Pass in England.”

It is valid for 28 days if you have had both jabs and then renews automatically. Covid test result certs last for 48 hours.

The fakes

It seems that for about £200, a determined anti-vaxxer can obtain a fake pass that is claimed to work just like a real one with QR codes that work and present verifiable vaccination data. Again, we know of nobody who has purchased one of these and use it successfully for travel abroad.

There are also the usual scam texts doing the rounds, with links to dubious sites that will happily take your money.

Good articles here and here.

The bottom line – fakes put us all at risk

It’s difficult to comprehend a mentality that deems it worthwhile spending £200 to pretend to be vaccinated when the real thing is available free of charge and safeguards both you and your famiy – up to a certain level of certainty but not totally of course.

The real victims may not be those who buy the fakes but rather those whom they may infect if they contract the virus.