Travel agent under investigation for “selling false Covid test results”

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A UK travel agent is currently under investigation over allegations he is selling false Covid test results to customers.

The company, which has not been named by authorities, is based in Bolton and reportedly sells negative PCR test results claiming to be from a legitimate clinic.

According to Bolton’s advice, “a significant number of fraudulent documents” were found during a raid on the company.

The documents will now be examined by police to determine if the company has broken the law.

Many countries, including the United Arab Emirates and Thailand, still require a negative PCR test result from travelers in order to allow entry – and PCR tests can cost anywhere from £ 45 to £ 120 per person per person. test.

The tests must be paid for by the traveler and taken with a legitimate testing provider, with a certificate issued as proof of a negative test result – the public cannot use the free NHS tests to travel.

Currently, your airline is responsible for verifying that you have a legitimate test result.

Deputy Head of Bolton Council Councilor Hilary Fairclough said: “Not only did this raid reveal a serious case of fraud, but the swift actions of our Trading Standards team potentially prevented hundreds of additional trips facilitated by bogus. documents.

“It’s hard to overstate the damage that has been done here: A legitimate business has faced a reputational risk and travelers may have unintentionally spread a deadly virus.

“At a time when the community has mobilized to fight COVID-19 and keep everyone safe, it is shocking that a small minority have exploited the system for personal gain.

“Once again, a successful transaction has been completed following a report, highlighting that our Trading Standards team works best with the support of residents and legitimate businesses.”

Those who sell fake certificates in the UK face a prison sentence. But buying or even attempting to buy a fake certificate is also a crime – using a fake certificate to travel is fraud of misrepresentation.

In April, it was reported that around 100 fake certificates were seized per day, with the Union of Immigration Services (ISU) saying it was “very easy” to forge documents.

When asked how border officials could verify evidence of a negative test, ISU officer Lucy Moreton told MPs from the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Coronavirus: ‘We are not, is the simple answer; it’s mostly taken on trust.

Ms Moreton said the easiest way to catch false documents was “if there was a spelling mistake somewhere”, but the foreign language of the certificates made that difficult.

She added that the documents are checked against a series of code numbers, but “unfortunately these things are very easy to crack electronically.”


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