People in the UK are being urged not to share images of lateral flow tests that produce negative results for Covid-19 on social media because criminals are using them to create fake passes. Before entering some UK venues, such as nightclubs, customers must provide a negative test or prove their vaccination status.
Security experts are now warning that an illegal trade is developing in which fraudsters use test results posted online to provide others with false negatives, allowing them to enter venues by lying. They warn that those who share these images may inadvertently endanger public health measures, the Independent has reported.
Fake Covid passes, according to Shahzad Ali, CEO of Get Licensed, a company that helps businesses with security, were “inevitable" as soon as venues began asking for proof of status.
Ali told the Wales Online that the company had seen fake documentation for many years, such as fake IDs, as a regular feature at nightclubs for a number of years. “This is just a new complication that door supervisors will soon become used to facing,” he said.
He added that “there will obviously be a market for Covid passes" as there are people who want to go about their lives like normal and not have to take Covid tests for things they didn’t have to before.
Ali advised people to avoid posting their test results online, and to also not share the code from the lateral flow as others may register it as their test.
Mr Ali also stated that making Covid passes is not only “grossly unethical and very dangerous," but it could also result in a “fine of £10,000 if you are caught."
Fake Covid passes have also been reported in France, where authorities began investigating online networks selling them in December. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said that officials had discovered thousands of fake Covid health passes in use across the country.
The case of a woman with Covid who died in a regional hospital in Paris after presenting a forged vaccine certificate drew attention in the French media.
Fake Vaccine Certificates in Italy
According to Italy’s Finance Police, 17 public and private messaging channels advertising the sale of illegal COVID-19 vaccination certificates have been suspended, Euronews reported.
Authorities monitoring the network discovered nine private profiles and eight public channels selling bogus “Green Passes" in both digital and paper formats.
The health certificates were priced between €100 and €500, with discounts available for those purchasing multiple certificates, such as the “family package" option.