People warned not to share pictures of Covid lateral flow tests online

Social media posts of lateral flow tests can be used by fraudsters to create fake Covid passes (Photo: Shutterstock)
Social media posts of lateral flow tests can be used by fraudsters to create fake Covid passes (Photo: Shutterstock)

People are being warned not to share pictures of Covid-19 lateral flow test results on social media to prevent the codes being copied.

Criminals are reportedly making a profit from using the test codes from the posts to sell on fake Covid passes.

This would allow people who have not taken a test, or are unvaccinated, to get into certain venues and events.

A leading UK security training has warned of an increase in fake Covid passes being distributed and said people risk being landed with a £10,000 fine for using or supplying such a pass.

The passes could also compromise the safety of venues where they are required, such as nightclubs and large events.

Shahzad Ali, CEO at Get Licensed, told the Daily Star: “It was always inevitable that fake Covid passes would start to appear as soon as there were rumours of them being introduced.

"Whilst grossly unethical and potentially very dangerous, it is also illegal to use/supply/distribute fake Covid passes and could see you rack up a fine of £10,000 should you be caught.

“There is obviously going to be a market for Covid passes, because there will be people who want to go about their life like normal and not have to take Covid tests for things they didn’t have to before, so it is extremely important that you look after your Covid pass.

"Our advice would be to avoid posting it on social media, don’t share the code from the lateral flow you have taken because others could register it as their test.”

Lateral flow test shortage

The warning comes amid a shortage of lateral flow tests (LFDs) ahead of New Year celebrations, sparking concerns people could be mixing without knowing whether they are infectious.

By 9am on Thursday (30 December), home delivery slots for lateral flow tests were unavailable on the website, and pharmacies across the country have also complained about patchy supplies of the test kits.

The UK government has been scrambling to secure test supplies from around the world to meet a surge in demand as people try to comply with guidance to limit the spread of the Omicron variant over New Year.

In a letter to MPs, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the supply of tests was being tripled in January and February from a pre-Omicron plan of 100 million to 300 million per month.

But he added: “In light of the huge demand for LFDs seen over the last three weeks, we expect to need to constrain the system at certain points over the next two weeks to manage supply over the course of each day, with new tranches of supply released regularly throughout each day”.

The Welsh Government has agreed to loan four million more tests to the NHS in England, bringing the total the country has given England to 10 million.

This article originally appeared on our sister site, NationalWorld.