Forged UK passports 'sold online for £3,500'

Sellers use TikTok and Telegram with the promise of 'super-fast' service

Border Force check the passports of passengers arriving at Gatwick Airport. Getty
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Forged British passports are being sold online using slick advertising promising buyers that the documents will pass UK biometric border controls, UK media reports.

The fakes include security features — holograms and watermarks — visible only under the ultraviolet lights in airport scanners.

They are being sold via TikTok and Telegram apps for £3,500 with the promise of “super-fast” service.

Dr Hans-Jakob Schindler, at the Counter Extremism Project, said: “Fraudulent identity documents and passports continue to present a serious security challenge.”

The latest scam, directed from Albania, was first reported by the Daily Mail which said EU passports that would beat UK and EU border control were also available for £2,000.

Pictures of Queen Elizabeth II and Buckingham Palace are used to entice buyers into the illegal sales.

Pictures of Queen Elizabeth II and Buckingham Palace are used to entice buyers. Getty Images)

Sites selling fake passports also show what appear to be other people successfully using them, including one woman who flew into the UK on what appears to be a forged Slovenian passport.

Videos show a fake UK passport being produced. One claims: “English passport with super-high quality chips and data that shows up in the system.”

UK passports are among the world’s most widely accepted. EU passports are similarly trusted and inside the bloc, national borders are largely free of security controls.

Dr Schindler explained how the forgeries can be used.

“These facilitate the movement of people, vehicles, money and materiel across borders and through inspection points,” he said.

“As such, they are invaluable to criminal and terrorist networks alike and pose a serious security risk to the UK. Criminals and terrorists use fraudulent passports to circumvent border checkpoints, allowing them to travel around or even leave and re-enter the UK undetected and untraced.

“Fake passports also enable criminals and terrorists to live completely hidden under false identities and fraudulently get a job or open a bank account. It is vital that the trade of stolen passports is halted to protect British citizens from those who might want to enter the country with sinister intentions.”

Updated: July 25, 2022, 8:45 AM
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