They promised, via Telegram, to many ‘customers’ to provide authentic green passes, equipped with QR codes perfectly suited to pass the controls imposed by current regulations. To put an end to the scam were the Financiers of the Special Unit for the Protection of Privacy and Technological Frauds. The investigation, coordinated by the Milan Public Prosecutor’s Office, made it possible to identify and search several Italian citizens in Veneto, Liguria, Puglia and Sicily, administrators of Telegram accounts, who ensured the authenticity of the green pass thanks to an alleged complicity of the healthcare personnel guaranteeing users the ‘satisfied or reimbursed’ formula.
Green pass for sale on Telegram: how the scam worked
The scammers demanded payment for the title strictly in cryptocurrencies. The members of the criminal organization would immediately admit their responsibilities. The financiers completely rebuilt the customer network and seized the illicit profits in cryptocurrency. Bitcoin and Ethereum were the favorites. In fact, the discovery on the numerous devices of the suspects – seized first and then analyzed – of photographs of identity documents and health cards of numerous subjects, reports certifying the negativity of nasopharyngeal swabs, false certificates of satisfaction of customers for the counterfeit green passes and, above all, chats from which the devious modus operandi adopted by the criminal organization emerges in an eloquent way.
Numerous users of the network who – in order to circumvent the regulations for the protection of the community issued by the legislator to counter the evolution of the pandemic in progress – attracted by the idea of being able to purchase a green pass without qualification for a cost of 100 euros, in addition to having lost the agreed sum, they also superficially shared their identity documents, exposing themselves to high risks regarding their illicit use.
The latest generation Bot and Avatar investigation tools were used for the investigation, also implemented thanks to the help provided by the IT investigation team of Group-IB, technological partner of Interpol and Europol, combined with an innovative and dynamic ‘real time’ monitoring of the network and the application of state-of-the-art investigation techniques by the military of the Guardia di Finanza.