The operator behind “Covid19vaccinecardsss” took just seconds to reply. One of a slew of Instagram accounts hawking fake proof of Covid-19 vaccination cards, whoever was running the page was eager to sell, inviting the BBC to move over to an encrypted messaging app to make a deal.
For $100 (£70), the vendor would deliver a “registered” card, with either the logo of the US Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) or Britain’s National Health Service.
Payment could be made in Apple Pay or Bitcoin and delivery would be “discrete” and within 24 hours, they promised.
“Your cards will be saved into the database system,” they told the BBC. “[These are] very good original vaccine cards, no worries.”
As the Delta variant of coronavirus sweeps the US, businesses, universities and cities such as New York and San Francisco have introduced vaccine mandates to boost uptake of jabs.
But vaccine hesitancy remains high and a cottage industry for bogus inoculation cards has emerged to help people get around the rules.
Fakes have been sold on platforms from eBay to Whatsapp and there have been high profile busts, with warnings that counterfeiters and buyers could face jail.
Yet users, authorities and many others are sceptical that the use of false cards can be stopped.