Criminal gangs are selling fake COVID-19 test certificates, a Europol early warning notification has said.
Cases have already emerged of fraudulent COVID-19 test certificates being sold to travellers.
Europol said today:
- A forgery ring selling negative test results to passengers was dismantled at the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, France,
- In the UK, fraudsters were caught selling bogus COVID-19 documents for £100,
- In December 2020, a fraudster was apprehended by Spanish police for selling fake test results for €40.
Europol has received additional intelligence on the alleged use of a mobile application by the so-called “Rathkeale Rovers” mobile organised crime gang, which allows members of the group to manually falsify test results.
The gang, originally from the Irish town of the same name, are mostly based in the UK. Some of the gang have previous convictions for money laundering, smuggling, drug trafficking and burglary.
“Given the widespread technological means available, in the form of high-quality printers and different software, fraudsters are able to produce high-quality counterfeit, forged or fake documents,” Europol has warned.
Member States are encouraged to share any relevant information on criminal activities related to fake COVID-19 test documentation with Europol.
Many countries including Ireland have introduced legislation requiring proof of a recent negative test before allowing travellers into the country.
Europol believes production and sales of fake test certificates will prevail as long as travel restrictions remain in place.
Passengers pay from €150 up to €300 for a fake certificate, Europol said.