Instagram used as marketplace for fake passports by people smuggling gangs

To evade detection, the gangs employ Instagram stories that automatically delete after 24 hours.


A Telegraph investigation revealed that people-smuggling gangs use Instagram to sell fake passports designed to resemble the buyer and help them enter the UK illegally. To avoid detection, these gangs advertise their services on private Instagram accounts with stories that delete automatically after 24 hours.

The passports, available for £12,500, are from countries like Greece, Romania, and the Czech Republic and are believed to be stolen to match the appearance of the person being smuggled. Unlike previous scams, which operated covertly, the Albanian gangs openly advertise on Instagram.

The Home Office has emphasized that those using false documents to enter the UK will face legal consequences, and they expect social media companies to remove content promoting illegal activities. Instagram, in response, stated that they remove content related to people smuggling and are investing in technology to detect and remove such content more effectively.

Why does it matter?

The fact that criminals openly advertise their services on a popular platform like Instagram is a public concern. However, it’s important to note that Instagram is not the only platform struggling to monitor potential criminal activities perpetuated by its users. In a recent development, the US medicines watchdog has revealed that it is considering legal action against Amazon for selling ‘unapproved’ drugs on its platform. These incidents raise questions regarding the effectiveness of the current content moderation systems on such platforms to combat criminal activities. It also emphasizes the crucial importance of these platforms collaborating with law enforcement agencies to tackle these issues.