FBI warns of fake COVID-19 vaccination cards being sold online, says illegal sales endanger public health
WASHINGTON - The Federal Bureau of Investigations is warning about fake COVID-19 vaccine cards being sold online that could endanger the public and further spread the virus.
"By misrepresenting yourself as vaccinated when entering schools, mass transit, workplaces, gyms, or places of worship, you put yourself and others around you at risk of contracting COVID-19," the agency said in an announcement published March 30.
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said he wanted businesses to help put a stop to sales of fake coronavirus vaccination cards from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. WAVY-TV reported last month that Herring was one of 45 state attorney generals calling on companies such as Twitter and eBay to prevent the spread of fraudulent cards.
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The law enforcement leaders said that companies should keep an eye out for ads or links to sales of blank or counterfeit vaccine cards. Once found, such advertisements for the cards should be taken down.
Herring worries that people who are untruthful about being vaccinated will negatively impact public health.
FILE - A Covid-19 vaccine record card is shown in a file image. (CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)
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"Getting vaccinated is one of the most important things a Virginian can do to help us all get back to normal and get the COVID pandemic under control," Herring told the news station. "Individuals who purchase fraudulent vaccine cards and go out into our communities pretending to be vaccinated could be detrimental to our efforts to curb the pandemic and put the safety of others at risk."
Not only does misrepresenting one’s vaccine status pose a health risk to the masses, but it is illegal to use an official government agency seal without authorization, authorities say.
The FBI is also cautioning individuals who did receive a vaccine to not post a photo of the record card on social media.
"These cards can contain your name, date of birth, patient number, insurance information, and location where you received your vaccine. Bad actors can use these images to steal your identity and commit fraud," the agency said.
To report suspicious activity involving fake vaccination record cards, contact the appropriate government agency in your state or jurisdiction, HHS-OIG 1-800-HHS-TIPS or www.oig.hhs.gov or the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.