Instagram adverts used to sell fake British passportsSeptember 4, 2023
Revealed: The Instagram adverts used to promote sale of fake passports – as Albanian people smugglers charge up to £12,500 for documents to get migrants into UK
These pictures show the Instagram adverts being used to sell fake British passports, as it emerged Albanian smugglers are charging up to £12,500 for documents to get migrants into the UK.
Forgers are seen openly boasting of being able to supply counterfeit passports ‘very easily’, while other adverts also feature driving licences and bank notes.
In one image, a seller is seen swiping a passport over a scanner in an apparent attempt to show they can be used to pass through security gates – although there is no evidence this is the case.
Some passports are being advertised by Albanian gangs on Instagram stories that automatically delete after 24 hours, helping them stay under the radar of authorities.
However, a Telegraph investigation has uncovered the scam which helps illegal migrants to trick border officials with older passports that can’t be checked by an e-gate.
Forgers are seen openly boasting of being able to supply counterfeit passports ‘very easily’, while other adverts also feature driving licences and bank notes
A photo shared by a forger showing a blue UK passport next to a driving licence
The fake passports from Greece, Romania and the Czech Republic are believed to be stolen and use photos that resemble the illegal migrant looking to enter the UK from Europe.
The Albanian gangs advertise their services using a private site on Instagram tagged ‘Passage to the UK’ which had 1,600 followers, before Instagram removed the account.
An undercover reporter approached the criminals with a direct message to the account.
They were informed that obtaining one of the counterfeit passports would set them back a whopping £12,500 per person for her and her boyfriend to reach the UK.
‘The cost of the passports and travel ticket will be covered by us. You will pay when you arrive,’ they are reported to have said.
The journalist followed up by asking: ‘What sort of passports are you going to use for us?’
They replied: ‘Depends on what you look like. Depends on your face and who you resemble.
‘But that is not a problem. We can use Greek, Romanian or Czech passports.’
Border Force has said it has an ‘array of tools’ available to detect fake travel documents
A forger showing the embossed rear of a passport in an Instagram advert
A pile of driving licences and identity cards forgers claim to be able to supply
One advert seem to indicate that the criminal gang had taken a small break, but was ‘back to business’ and claimed that their bustling operation was offering ‘100 per cent’ secure journeys to the UK.
The advert said: ‘After a small break back to business. Italy to London on planes. Journey secure 100 per cent with the knowledge of our people at the airports.
‘Payment only when you arrive in London. Get in touch. Only serious people.’
Shockingly, another advert aimed its services at people who are ‘wanted from police’ in the UK, offering illegal crossings from ‘Italy to Ireland’ followed by ‘Ireland to London.’
A third said: ‘Work not words. Getting to the UK 100 per cent secure on plane and for those who have been expelled from EU countries.’
Other adverts offered ID and driving licences as well as passports, ‘spectacular’ pricing, before adding: ‘Payment when you get to the UK. All the expenses for staying on us.’
An advert offering ‘passports, driving licences, cards notes and more’
A Home Office spokesman said: ‘Those who attempt to enter the UK using false documents will face the full consequences of the law.
‘Border Force’s priority is to maintain security of the border at all times and our officers have an array of tools at their disposal to detect imposters.
‘Social media companies have a responsibility to remove content that promotes and helps to fund illegal and criminal activity, such as adverts promising false documents or illegal Channel crossings.
‘This month, we announced a new partnership with social media companies to accelerate action to tackle and remove this type of content.’
A spokesman for Meta, which owns Instagram, said: ‘People smuggling is illegal and where we find content coordinating this activity we remove it from our platforms, as we have in this case.
‘While figures from the NCA show that over 90 per cent of content is removed by social media companies when notified, in line with the recent government announcement, we are continuing to invest in technology which detects, reports and removes this type of content.’
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