Italy relaunches ‘green pass’ app to ward off fake Covid-19 passports

Italy relaunches 'green pass' app to ward off fake Covid-19 passports
(Photo by Pascal POCHARD-CASABIANCA / AFP)
Italian authorities have reissued the digital health pass with advice on how to spot replicas, as fake versions are sold online.

Following Italy’s announcement to expand its Covid-19 health pass to venues such as restaurants, bars, gyms and cinemas, there has been a surge in vaccination bookings.

But as it’s due to come into force in just under two weeks, from August 6th, there have been reports of other tactics to get the pass without meeting the official requirements of getting vaccinated, tested or showing a certificate of recovery from the virus.

 EXPLAINED: When, where and why will you need a Covid health passport in Italy?

In response to fake green passes being sold online, the government tweeted advice with step-by-step photo instructions.

“Green certificate: how to easily recognise the authentic one,” the tweet read.

The authorised app is called ‘VerificaC19‘, which is free to download, and works by scanning the QR code of the green pass.

This provides personal information of the holder and proof that they meet the health criteria to access many venues and cultural sites in Italy.

The list includes museums, galleries, theatres, cinemas, sports stadiums, theme parks, indoor swimming pools, spas, and indoor seating areas at bars and restaurants.

READ ALSO: Italy makes Covid ‘green pass’ mandatory for restaurants, gyms, cinemas and more 

But reports in Italian media have revealed that fake ones are being sold on social networks for between €100 and €200, which can be obtained by only presenting an ID document and a health card (tessera sanitaria).

These fakes bypass the requirements stipulated by the Italian government and those found falsifying the Covid health pass – in either digital or paper format – will face penalties, according to Italian media reports.

One group has been found selling such counterfeit green passes on social media network, Telegram, for around €100, reported newspaper Il Messaggero.

Potential buyers are promised an activated green pass within 48-72 hours without needing to be vaccinated, tested or showing proof of having recovered from Covid-19.

The Telegram group has reportedly gathered more than 14,000 members and, according to the administrators, 1,200 fake Covid health passports have already been sold throughout Italy.

A price list and different payment methods are offered, with the cost rising to €120 for a paper version. Family packages are noted to offer people four or six green passes at a time, at a cost of between €300 to €450.

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The real VerificaC19 app, which is free to download, shows the name, surname and date of birth of the holder of the green pass.

Photo: Palazzo Chigi/Twitter

It works by download from the Apple or Google app stores and will scan your green pass QR code, in either paper or digital form.

Then the green pass shows it’s valid with a green tick, displaying your personal details underneath.

Failing to check the pass can earn both customers and businesses a fine from €400 to €1,000, while businesses that repeatedly break the rules risk being forced to close for up to ten days.

The green pass will be required for anyone aged 12 and over and, at the moment, Italy’s digital health certificate is only available to people who were vaccinated, tested or recovered in Italy.


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