FAKE negative Covid certificates are being flogged on Facebook by a teenage student, The Sun can reveal.
Named on the social media site as Malik Younas, he sold a counterfeit PCR test — or DNA test — to me in undercover guise for £60 using the copied details of a London clinic.
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Scammers are selling fake negative Covid certificates onlineCredit: Getty
We paid £50 for an NHS-headed negative test certificate
For an extra tenner, we were able to get a fake negative certificate apparently from a private clinic
The forger bragged: “These definitely work, they 100 per cent work. I’ve done about 30. Never had problems. (Business) is good.”
A genuine, same-day guaranteed test from the clinic whose names he has stolen costs £400.
Malik, 18, also provided a bogus negative PCR test for £80 that he copied from a centre in Pakistan.
The fake could potentially be used by an airline passenger with the virus to travel to the UK.
Neither the British nor Pakistani test clinics are aware their details have been used by Malik for his fraudulent activities.
The youngster, from Sparkhill, Birmingham, has a cynical attitude to the pandemic. Asked if he had had Covid, he replied: “I had the full symptoms for a day.
I’ve done about 30. Never had problems. (Business) is good.
“My family told me to relax. I couldn’t, I just went out and had fun. I couldn’t stay at home.”
The Sun discovered Malik’s operation by searching Facebook Marketplace.
A page came up with a large NHS logo offering a £50 test and boasting: “Emergency Covid test emailed within half an hour. Essential for travel or other emergencies.”
The seller’s name was given as Malik Younas. I then contacted him on Facebook Messenger before I continued communication via Whats-App, phone calls and FaceTime.
Malik Younas insisted he’s never had problems with the fake forms and that business is good
He said he used an NHS mock-up himself to travel to Barcelona last month
First I ordered an NHS-headed negative test certificate for £50 from Malik, saying I wanted to travel to Spain. Following a cash transfer to an account in the name Younas Malik Fazal, a fake document arrived by email 20 minutes later.
The authentic-looking document bore a UK Government email address as well as my name, with a made-up date of birth, date of test and email.
It read: “Dear Oliver Harvey, your test result is negative. You did not have the virus when the test was done.”
Malik said he had used an NHS mock-up himself to travel to Barcelona last month.
But the Department of Health later confirmed that it does not provide “negative test” certificates to use for travel purposes.
Although Malik insisted the bogus NHS form would pass muster for travel to Spain, I told him I would prefer a certificate from a private clinic.
For an extra £10 Malik was then able to produce a fake negative certificate purporting to be from a company with test centres in a number of UK cities.
The realistic-looking certificate, which carried my name, date of birth and passport number, bore a doctor’s name and signature and arrived ten minutes after I ordered it.
Malik insisted the phoney document would pass travel checks with ease.
In a taped phone call, he said: “There’s too many people going, so they don’t stop every other person to check closely. You just need to show them the name, and that’s it.”
It is illegal to buy or attempt to buy a forged Covid certificate in the UKCredit: Getty
Later he also produced the sham negative certificate using the details of a Pakistani clinic which would allow someone with the virus to board a plane to the UK.
Paying the requested £80, I also provided a made-up traveller’s name, father’s name and date of birth as well as a genuine flight time and flight number for the bogus document.
When the fake form was emailed to me by Malik, it had an airline’s details in a box marked for a doctor’s name.
Malik insisted he had copied the details — including the error — from an authentic certificate and urged me not to change it.
He said of the Pakistan test: “We know what we’re doing. I’ve done one of these before. It’s the same as an actual one, don’t worry.”
Malik then offered advice for using the mock-up certificate at the airport check-in in Pakistan, explaining: “If they say, ‘Where’s the paper one?’, say you lost it somewhere. Show them on the phone, don’t print it out.”
He said one of his customers had successfully used a fake certificate there recently.
A government spokesman told The Sun: “The global coronavirus pandemic is ongoing and we expect everyone to follow the rules and play their part to help return life to normal as soon as possible.
“Travellers who wish to enter a country that requires a negative test for entry can purchase a test from a private provider, and only the destination’s relevant authority can determine how this is verified.”
The forgeries could potentially be used by infected travellers coming to the UKCredit: Getty
It is illegal to buy or attempt to buy a forged Covid certificate in the UK, while using a forged certificate to travel is fraud by false representation.
Those caught selling fake certificates in the UK can face a prison sentence.
All travellers must have proof of a negative coronavirus test to travel to the UK. Airlines are currently responsible for checking that passengers have a negative result.
Europol, the European Union’s police agency, this month warned that criminal gangs were selling forged negative Covid tests at airports for £100.
It comes after a man was charged with allegedly entering Canada on February 8 using a fake negative Covid certificate.
Police said he had in fact tested positive. In January a man was arrested at Luton Airport under suspicion of selling fake certificates.
French authorities recently arrested seven people at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, claiming they were carrying 200 counterfeit tests on digital devices.
And in just a week last month, 45 people were caught trying to enter Croatia using false negative papers.
The Sun alerted West Midlands Police and Facebook to Malik’s activities before publication.
West Midlands Police said: “We have received an allegation of fraud and are carrying out enquiries.”
A Facebook spokesman said: “We have removed the advert reported to us for violating our advertising policies. We prohibit content that tries to exploit the pandemic for commercial gain, including posts that promote the sale of Covid tests.
“We also ban adverts that include vaccine hoaxes or discourage people from getting a vaccine and we put warning labels over posts marked as false by third-party fact checkers.”
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