Major ID counterfeiting scam in Bulgaria threatens UK
A huge trade in counterfeit ID documents, prepared by corrupt state officials in Bulgaria, may lead to a massive influx of illegal immigrants to the UK, British tabloid The Sun, reported March 17.
“You can go to London straight away with this card,” Bulgarian mafia boss ‘Gatsu’ reportedly told a journalist from The Sun. “In a few months it will mean you can work there or claim a house, money, medicine or school free from the government — just like the Polish people can […]. I have already sold lots of them to people from Arab countries, Russians and Indians. I have sent people to London, Canada, US, everywhere.”
‘Gatsu,’ who has sold thousands of fake IDs to Bulgarian citizens, was arrested after a provocation prepared by The Sun. Nonetheless, he is part of a growing black market trade in Sofia, which runs the sale of documents to enter Britain.
The forged documents are allegedly issued by bent officials in Sofia. They have all the security features of any genuine card — including three holograms and a government stamp — and are computer-readable. To complete their authentic look, they are also stamped with a personal number, and an expiry date.
At the time of its EU accession in 2007, Bulgaria was listed as a restricted member whose citizens could legally live in the UK if they met certain conditions. The restrictions are to be scrapped at the start of 2014. This may trigger a large wave of Bulgarian immigrations to the UK. Campaign group Migration Watch estimates it could be as high as 70,000 a year in the first five years (a total of 42,000 Bulgarian citizens are currently resident in the UK).
Being some of the poorest citizens in Europe (average of GBP 280 per month salary), Bulgarians are reportedly desperate to find a way to live a more wealthy life.
Fake IDs would make their stay much more comfortable. People use these ID cards to make new bank accounts, get loans, or do other deals — as well as running away from the country. Crooks such as ‘Gatsu’ realize that, and therefore forge the desired product, adding to the supply-demand equilibrium