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By Ashleigh, K-Staff
Woohoo! You’ve just been vaccinated to protect yourself and others against COVID-19. It’s time to post a selfie with your vaccination cards on social media to let everyone know you’ve done your part to help end this pandemic, right?
The self-identifying information on vaccine cards can leave you vulnerable to identity theft and make it simple for scammers to reproduce phony cards.
It’s not as harmless as you might think. According to the BBB, reports of scammers selling fake vaccine cards have already started pouring in. In Great Britain, some scammers have been caught trying to sell fake vaccine cards on eBay and other social media sites, and the trend is catching on in the United States as well.
The information contained on official vaccination cards have an alarmingly large amount of personally identifying information, including your full name and date of birth.
“You don’t want to give scammers any more information because they constantly build a profile on you,” says BB official Steve Bernas. If your social media profile is visible to anyone, that information is no longer private. With a birthday and full name, the damage an identity thief can inflect is immense.
Now that the Pfizer vaccine has gained full FDA approval, many government entities and private business are now requiring employees and visitors to provide proof of vaccination—as demand for this proof rises, a lucrative opportunity is arising for scammers to produce fake vaccine cards or use the confusion regarding vaccine mandates to steal money and personal information.
The BBB recently warned that they are anticipating new scams to pop up in relation to vaccine passports. A number of groups are busy developing digital apps to serve as vaccine passports for companies and organizations in a wide variety of industries. In places like New York and industries like air travel, vaccine passports are no longer a theory—they’re reality. The BBB recommends being on the lookout for the following:
Use stickers and frames on social media
Don’t share your location
Check your privacy settings
Be wary of social media trends
It’s scary when your identity is stolen, and it might cause you to panic. The first step that you want to take is to report it to the FTC. Then you can learn about the steps to recover from identity theft by visiting here.
If you happen to see someone trying to sell a fake vaccine card report it to the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-HHS-TIPS or oig.hhs.gov. You can also file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center https://www.ic3.gov/.