Fake negative covid tests to allow travel into Europe sold for 100 pounds.
Fake negative coronavirus documents are being sold at airports, train stations and online. Europol has sounded an alarm, on what is considered the latest frontier of scams, in the era of coronavirus. "As long as travel restrictions remain in place due to the covid-19 situation, it is very likely that the production and sale of fake test certificates will proliferate," warned the European agency for police cooperation and coordination.
"Given the spread of technological means, in the form of high-quality printers and various software, scam artists are able to produce high-quality fake or counterfeit documents," Europol says, calling on EU member states to be “vigilant”.
Europol's global partner, Interpol, has also issued an alert against international organizations that sell fake coronavirus negative certificates, or take possession of genuine certificates, and then resell them. Just as there are international organizations flooding the markets with counterfeit masks, hand sanitizers and other medical devices.
As long as travel restrictions remain in place due to the pandemic, it is very likely that criminals will take the opportunity to produce and sell fake covid-19 test certificates.
Counterfeiters at Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris
Several cases of fake certificates being put into circulation have already surfaced. At Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, a network of counterfeiters selling negative test certificates was dismantled.
Cases also in the UK and Spain
In the UK, fraudsters have been caught selling fake covid-19 documents for £100. For the modest sum of £100, cyber criminals are offering a fake document that allows you to travel anywhere without restrictions. A man was arrested at Luton Airport in the UK on charges of selling counterfeit negative tests in January. In December 2020 in Spain, a scam artist was arrested by the Spanish National Police for selling fake certificates for €40 each.
Counterfeiting through sophisticated mobile apps
Irish criminal organizations are allegedly forging negative covid certificates in order to allow buyers to travel through Europe. According to sources at Europol, the means used for forgery is a smartphone application and the cost of a falsified test is "several hundred euros".
The "market" for these tests was created following the requirement, introduced by Ireland and other European countries, to produce negative anti-Covid molecular tests in order to be admitted in the country. The sale of the fakes would take place inside some airports, or through messaging apps, proving to be "highly convincing”.
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