Robert Lessmann – stock.adobe.com
Online counterfeiters offer false negative PCR tests for 50 to 70 €.
Yes, it is possible to buy a fake PCR test on social media negative. No, counterfeiters are not numerous on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook. Yes, it’s easy to neutralize them… temporarily. Decryption.
Between urban legend and exaggeration of the media magnifying glass, it is fashionable to believe that counterfeiters are jostling each other on social networks at the time of remotely selling you a fake coronavirus test certificate credible.
Certainly, if you run a search on Snapchat for the words «corona test» or «corona lab», the service returns dozens of results to you. But taking the test further, you foolishly discover that the overwhelming majority of these accounts are dumb.
Concretely, we contacted twenty Snapchat accounts meeting the search criteria «corona test» with the following text: “Hi! I need a negative corona test from a Belgian laboratory quickly. It’s possible? Thank you”.
In twenty-four hours, we got only one response, from the same account that served as the basis to a report by RTBF.
This very unobtrusive “structure” operates on Snapchat, Instagram and WhatsApp. She even dares to display a French mobile number. It claims to be able to provide in thirty minutes a negative PCR test valid in Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands or the United Arab Emirates. Price: 50€.
Sensitive information requested
In the negotiation established via the “chat” (written conversation), prices and deadlines take a different turn. The price of 50 € is only valid if you agree to wait more than 12 hours before receiving the precious sesame. For a reception in less than 12 hours, it is necessary to pay 70€.
If the payment method (Paypal) is not the most dangerous of the options, the counterfeiter will on the other hand ask you for very sensitive : passport photo or name, first name, passport number, date and place of birth, travel dates, email address.
To temporarily put an end to the actions of such an account, it suffices to alert the social network via a classic reporting procedure. We did this on Snapchat and Instagram and the two networks quickly shut down the offending accounts.
Co-author of the forgery
Obviously, counterfeiters only need a few minutes to be reborn under another identity, under another account name. It’s a cat-and-mouse game between counterfeiters and the authorities who would like to hunt them down.
As pointed out the RTBF report, the buyer of a fake PCR test is considered to be the co-author of the fake and the use of the fake. With in sight, the prospect of a heavy sanction: one month to five years in prison, a fine of 26 to 3,000 €.