EU police on Monday warned travelers to look for organized crime gangs selling fake Covid-negative certificates at airports, sometimes for as much as 300 euros each.
The warning from Europol comes after police cracked down on several suspects selling forged certificates declaring people Covid-19 negative at airports in the UK and France, online and via mobile messaging chat groups in Spain and the Netherlands.
Many EU countries and others are now demanding proof that passengers are not infected by the disease, which has killed more than 2.2 million people around the world.
“As long as travel restrictions remain due to the pandemic, it is very likely that criminals will take the opportunity to produce and sell counterfeit Covid-19 test certificates,” said Europol.
“Given the widespread technical means available in the form of high-quality printers and other software, fraudsters can produce high-quality counterfeit, forged or counterfeit documents,” the Hague-based police said.
At the end of last year, French police closed a counterfeit ring at Charles de Gaulle airport outside Paris that sold fake certificates for between 150 and 300 euros ($ 180 and $ 360), Europol said.
“Intelligence suggests that fraudsters in the UK were caught selling fake Covid-19 test documents for £ 100, falsifying the name of a genuine laboratory on fake certificates,” it added.
In a new case, a man was arrested ten days ago at Luton Airport in the UK, suspected of having sold counterfeit Covid papers.
In Spain, police arrested a man who sold counterfeit papers for 40 euros online, while in the Netherlands, fraudsters did the same via mobile messaging programs.