The National Crime Agency (NCA) has said a man has been arrested for allegedly selling more than 500 fake coronavirus testing kits through the intentionally hidden ‘Dark Web.’
THE 38-year old from Birmingham, who was detained on Tuesday under the Fraud Act 2006, is thought to have supplied the kits to people in the UK and the US through the Dark Web, a portion of the Internet that is intentionally hidden from search engines.
NCA officers found what they believe to be cocaine and heroin at the man’s home, and business cards which they are now examining, another suspect, a 36-year-old, is also being sought in connection with the fraud.
Matt Horne, 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.”
Mr Horne added: “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.”
The National Economic Crime Centre has asked members of the public to “be even more cautious than usual” with online shopping.
Andy Morling, head of enforcement at the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, said that no Covid-19 antibody self-testing kits are available for home use in the UK. “Always make sure you are buying your medicines from a registered pharmacy or website and your medical devices from reputable retailers,” he added.
Ben Russell, deputy director of the National Economic Crime Centre, said: “We know criminals are trying to turn the pandemic to their advantage, but there are things you can do to help stay safe.
“Be even more cautious than usual when shopping online and always follow the Take Five To Stop Fraud advice: Stop, Challenge & Protect. If you believe you are a victim, please report it to your bank and Action Fraud immediately.
“We are working together across law enforcement, the government, and private sector to protect the public and combat these offenders.”
A large number of fake sites have emerged since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, which seeks to capitalise on the fear around the virus.