As long as travel restrictions remain in place due to the pandemic, it is very likely that criminals will seize the opportunity of producing and selling fake COVID-19 test certificates, warns a Europol Early Warning Notification. Several cases have already emerged of fraudulent COVID-19 test certificates being sold to travellers:
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 GBP 100;
In December 2020, a fraudster was apprehended by the Spanish National Police for selling fake test results for EUR 40.
Fake negative Covid-19 test certificates
Given the widespread technological means available, in the form of high-quality printers and different software, fraudsters are able to produce high-quality c counterfeit, forged or fake documents. Member States are encouraged to share any relevant information on criminal activities related to fake COVID-19 test documentation with Europol.
EU agrees on a common list of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests
EU Health Security Committee agreed on a common list of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests, a selection of rapid antigen tests for which Member States will mutually recognise their results, and a common standardised set of data to be included in COVID-19 test result certificates. These three deliverables, agreed by Member States and as called for by the Council Recommendation of 21 January on a common framework for the use of rapid antigen tests, will be continuously reviewed and updated.
Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, said: “Rapid antigen tests are crucial to slow down the spread of COVID-19 and should be part of our overall response to the pandemic. If negative COVID-19 tests are to be required or recommended for any activity, it is essential that they are mutually recognised, and result in certificates recognised across the EU. This is essential, particularly in the context of travel. Our citizens need clarity and predictability.” The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is currently in the process of updating its COVID-19 in vitro diagnostic medical devices database, with the aim of integrating all the information on rapid antigen tests that was collected and agreed on by the Health Security Committee.
“As long as travel restrictions remain in place due to the pandemic, it is very likely that criminals will seize the opportunity of producing and selling fake Covid-19 test certificates,” Europol said.
The EU’s police agency warned travellers to watch for organised crime gangs selling fake Covid-negative certificates at airports, sometimes for as much as 300 euros each. The warning from Europol comes after police busted several suspects selling forged certificates declaring people Covid-19 negative at airports in Britain and France, online and through mobile messaging chat groups in Spain and the Netherlands.
eudebates Fake negative Covid-19 test certificates