Criminals going through people's bins to make cash from used Covid tests

Criminal gangs are sifting through people’s rubbish to make cash from people’s used lateral flow tests to make money in a fresh Covid scam.

By Darren Burke
Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 8:32 am

A waste collection company says that Covid scammers are selling on both positive and negative tests for money as buyers attempt to trick employers and venues.

According to, refuse collectors are being offered money to allow people to pick through waste in order to find used test devices.

“It’s a disgusting and immoral trade,” says spokesperson Mark Hall. “This kind of selfishness and stupidity will lead to further infections and deaths.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Criminals are making cash from used Covid tests.

Mr Hall says the fraud is two-fold.

First, there’s a trade in negative test results for people who want to use them to fool employers, venues that demand a negative test result, and phone apps that the person is clear of Covid.

They might also want to skip a period of self-isolation, with potentially devastating results.

“These are people who have either tested positive, or simply don’t want to go through the bother of taking a test,” he said. “Whatever their motive, they want to mix with colleagues, friends and the general public without a thought for their welfare.”

The second trade is in positive tests results, for those who fancy a bit of paid time off work.

He added: “Why anybody would fake having a potentially deadly disease after everything we’ve been through in the last two years is beyond us, but here we are.”

There have also been warnings that scammers are using the QR codes of tests that social media users are posting on the Facebook walls, and selling screengrabs as a money-making commodity. says they’ve had reports of refuse operators being approached by individuals asking to rifle through waste looking for used tests.

In some cases, they’ve been offered money for doing so.

And sometimes, they don’t even ask. Commercial refuse collectors have found sacks of everyday office waste – usually ignored by four-legged vermin - torn apart to find lateral flow tests.

“It’s absolutely maddening,” said Mr Hall. “Refuse workers have a hard enough job as it is without clearing up after these goons."

“As far as we know, nobody’s been threatened by these criminals, but it can only be a matter of time.”