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Birmingham man arrested over fake COVID-19 testing kits

A 38-year-old man in Birmingham has been arrested in connection with the sale of fake COVID-19 testing kits which were sold online.

The man, who has not been named, is suspected of selling the tests on the dark web as well as the open web.

He was caught by the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) which is targeting criminals attempting to exploit the coronavirus pandemic.

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Sky News reported in March that cyber criminals were selling potentially counterfeit surgical face masks on dark web marketplaces in a rush to take advantage of COVID-19.

People in the UK and the US are believed to have purchased fake testing kits, which were found alongside small quantities of heroin and cocaine in two properties in Birmingham.

Matt Horne, the deputy director of investigations at the NCA, said: “Anyone thinking of trying to profit from the public’s fears about the pandemic should take note of this arrest.

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“Bringing offenders to justice and ceasing their activities is a key priority across law enforcement, the NCA will target criminals who pose a risk to our collective effort to tackle the pandemic.

“We are investigating a number of reports on the sale of counterfeit products relating to COVID-19, and will continue to work with partners to protect the public.”

A man has been arrested over the fake COVID-19 testing kits. Pic: NCA
Image: A man has been arrested over the fake COVID-19 testing kits. Pic: NCA

Andy Morling, the head of enforcement at the healthcare products regulatory agency, warned consumers to beware of scammers advertising false fake medical kits relating to the outbreak.

“No COVID-19 antibody self-testing kits have received CE mark status and there are no such testing kits available in the UK for home use,” Mr Morling said.

The only legitimate tests available in the UK must be acquired through the NHS.

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