Europol has warned of a growing trend of criminal gangs selling counterfeit Wuhan coronavirus medical certificates at European airports.
The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) stated that the fake certificate industry was rapidly growing, as more and more countries require a negative coronavirus test for travellers to enter.
In at least two airports in the UK and France, criminals have been caught trying to sell the fake medical results. During the most recent arrests, one man attempted to sell fraudulent documents to travellers at Luton airport, north of London, broadcaster SVT reports.
At Paris’s Charles De Gaulle airport, a gang of criminals was selling documents for between £130 and £260 ($180-$360), with investigators noting that the certificates featured logos from real laboratories.
According to Europol, criminals are not just selling the certificates in person at airports but are also using social media and messaging apps. Scammers in the Netherlands were caught using online apps to sell counterfeit test results for around £40 ($60).
Criminals Selling Fake Coronavirus-Test Negative Results For Border-Crossing Travellers https://t.co/kG9wZsy9vZ
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 16, 2020
“The detection of fake COVID-19 negative test certificates confirms that criminals – be it organised crime groups or individual opportunistic scammers – seize profitable opportunities once they arise. As long as travel restrictions remain in place due to the COVID-19 situation, it is highly likely that production and sales of fake test certificates will prevail,” Europol said in a press release.
Fake medical certificates were also sold along the border of Greece last year after the country implemented restrictions on travellers from the Balkan region.
The documents, which sold for £27 to £36 ($34-$46), were found after inspections at the border village of Promachonas near Bulgaria, resulting in the government restricting certificates from select medical institutions only.
Last year, Europol warned that gangs would likely use various methods to take advantage of the coronavirus pandemic, stating that along with fraud, gangs would engage in cybercrime and look to profit from counterfeit medical goods.
Europol: Criminals Adapting and Taking Advantage of Coronavirus Outbreak https://t.co/8RB9VAiEis
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 2, 2020