By Darryl Sellers
From coast-to-coast, local and federal law enforcement agencies are finding some bad players who are preying on the public’s fears in order to profit from the pandemic. The sale of fake COVID-19 vaccination cards is a new and growing fraudulent action that’s sweeping the nation during the pandemic.
More than 150 million Americans have received a small white card with a federal logo that serves as a valid COVID-19 vaccination card and shows they’re fully vaccinated. In some cities, these cards are needed to attend concerts and sporting events and even get into places of employment.
Unfortunately, with more businesses requiring vaccination proof, more Americans are turning to fake COVID-19 vaccination cards. In fact, U.S Customs and Border Protection officers (officers is lower case in the article. Is that correct?) have seized thousands of these fake cards in Memphis, Tennessee alone.
These fake vaccination cards can be easily created by fraudsters.They are selling them to people who don’t want to get vaccinated andusethe cards to falsely show that they have been vaccinated.
Here are some recent examples of practices people have used to try to profit from black-market fake vaccination card schemes.
- More information about fake vaccine cards being seized that were shipped from China.
- In California, undercover agents purchased vaccine cards from a bar owner who had several blank cards and the laminate machine and other items to manufacture more cards.
- In New York, officials arrested a 21-year-old, now former CVS employee accused of stealing eight pre-filled and 54 blank cards from the largest pharmacy chain in the United States.
- Police in Connecticut seized a box of fake vaccination cards at an anti-vaccination rally in the spring.
- Platforms such as Telegram have been used to sell bogus vaccine cards. For example, among a group of more than 4,700 subscribers, some claim to have purchased fake vaccine cards. Yet anotherTelegram channel with more than 8,500 subscribers is being used to disseminate anti-vaccine information.
Buying and selling fake COVID-19 vaccination cards is punishable by law.
Dr. KevinIzard of Paladina Health in Milwaukee offers a best practice that will help you avoid fake COVID-19 vaccination cards.
Here are some tips to help you avoid COVID-19 vaccination card fraud:
- Never pay for a vaccine card.
- Don’t offer information about your vaccine to anyone.
- Do not post photos of your vaccine card online. The Federal Trade Commission reminds us that social media is nota safe place for COVID-19 vaccination cards.
The bottom line is to continue to get shots into your arms and get your vaccinations documented the safe and legal way in order to defeat COVID-19. Together, “We Can Do This!”
Here is the link to V-Safe, the CDC website for registration after you get vaccinated. It also has important COVID-19 vaccine information.
If you suspect any fraud, contact the Inspector General at 800-HHH-TIPS (800-447-8477).
Here’s a link to Fraud Alert information about other COVID-19 scams.
Darryl Sellers is the Director of the Public Relations Team for Creative Marketing Resources, a strategic marketing agency in Milwaukee and a partner of the BCAC.