US govt warns that buying fake COVID-19 vaccine cards is a crime


US govt warns that buying fake COVID-19 vaccine cards is a crime

US federal agencies have warned today against making or selling fake COVID-19 vaccination record cards as this is breaking the law.

The FBI, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) issued the warning today in the form of a public service announcement published on the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Additionally, using fake vaccination record cards could also put others at risk, increasing the chance of contracting COVID-19 or infecting others.

“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,” the federal agencies warned today.

“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 agencies also warned against using official government agency seals to create forged vaccination records since this is a crime punishable under Title 18 United States Code, Section 1017, and other applicable laws.

Government and private organizations were also advised to keep using personal protective equipment and maintain social distancing whenever possible, seeing that individuals using fake vaccine cards may increase the risk of inadvertently contracting COVID-19.

Avoid sharing vaccination cards on social media

This warning comes after previous alerts issued by the FBI and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warning not to post CDC COVID-19 vaccination cards on social media platforms.

Scammers can use photos of vaccination record cards shared on social media to forge vaccination cards that get sold for profit.

Doing this also drastically increases the chance of having your personal information stolen and falling victim to identity thieves that could use it to commit fraud.

Identity thieves can use stolen personal info to open new accounts in your name, fraudulently claim tax refunds for themselves, and engage in other forms of identity theft.

“If you did receive the vaccine, we recommend you do not post photos of your vaccine card to social media websites—your personal information could be stolen to commit fraud,” the PSA added.

You can report suspicious activity involving fake vaccination record cards by contacting the HHS-OIG (at 1-800-HHS-TIPS or www.oig.hhs.gov) or the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (at www.ic3.gov).

The FTC said in February that the number of identity theft reports has doubled last year compared to 2019, reaching a record of 1.4 million reports within a single year.

According to stats provided by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), over 372,000 Americans have reported financial losses of more than $365 million after falling victims to COVID-19-related scams since the start of 2020.



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