The Oregon FBI has issued an advisory alerting people of COVID-19 vaccine ID card scams.
The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, or IC3.gov, has issued a warning about scams involving that oh-so-important piece of paper that millions of Americans are now carrying around in their wallets.
The FBI — along with its partners at the Department of Health and Human Services — are seeing reports of individuals selling fake COVID-19 vaccination record cards and encouraging others to print fake cards at home. Fake vaccination record cards have been advertised on social media websites, as well as e-commerce platforms and blogs.
Vaccination record cards are intended to provide recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine with information about the type of vaccine they received and when they may be able to receive a second dose of the vaccine. If you did not receive the vaccine, do not buy fake vaccine cards, do not make your own vaccine cards, and do not fill-in blank vaccination record cards with false information.
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. Additionally, the unauthorized use of an official government agency’s seal (such as HHS or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)) is a crime and may be punishable under federal law.
Because individuals may use fake vaccine cards to misrepresent themselves as vaccinated, the FBI strongly encourages businesses, schools, places of worship and government agencies to follow CDC guidance and continue to maintain physical distancing and to use personal protective equipment.
For those who did receive the vaccine, the FBI also recommends you do not post photos of your vaccine card to social media. There is more than just the problem of bad actors re-selling images of your card, though. They can also use your post to harvest lots of personal information, which can include your name, date of birth, patient number, and location where you received your vaccine. Once a fraudster has these details, he can steal your identity and do all sorts of damage to your financial health.
If you have already posted a photo of a vaccine card, consider removing it and update your profile picture with a banner or a sticker saying that you got your shot. Some social media platforms have frames or graphics you can use,– or you can download stickers from www.cdc.gov.
If you believe are a victim of an online scam, you should report the incident to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your FBI local office.