Although not one case has made it to the public so far in Hungary, as immunity certificate-holders receive special allowances, forgery has become an issue. The government implemented draconian penalties for counterfeiters.
Fake immunity certificates may cost some HUF 100,000-200,000 (EUR 280-560), according to Euronews. The online outlet lists a number of methods for committing forgery. One is through the GPs as vaccine ampules usually contain more vaccines than officially listed, meaning that doctors can hand out more vaccines than there actually are on paper- but this can also provide opportunities for corrupt GPs to report additional persons as vaccinated, without actually inoculating them. Euronews also lists the forging of the actual hard copy of the document; this is however, not a very smart tactic, given that checking the validity of certificates through the online platform is quite quick and simple.
A third option might be forging the antigen test (after reporting a positive antigen test, authorities provide an immunity certificate valid for four months), as there still are some loopholes and synchronization deficiencies in the system (between the official registers and some of the clinics).
Meanwhile, a security policy expert told ATV that immunity certificates have a lower security level than a bank card. Therefore, counterfeiting is not too complicated. “People who deal with counterfeiting bank cards will be able to produce such an immunity card in a matter of seconds,” Péter Tarjányi said.
While in foreign media outlets there are multiple reports of illegal trading with vaccines or immunity certificates going through various online channels, in Hungary not one case has been reported yet by the authorities. Still, the government has implemented draconian sanctions for counterfeiters. Those who forge any document regarding coronavirus protection, or, of course, trades with any such documents, could receive up to five years in prison. As a matter of fact, this punishment is more severe than the repercussions for a forgery of other public or administrative documents.
featured image illustration via György Varga/MTI