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Officials Warn Against Selling And Buying Fake Vaccination Cards

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The Portland FBI Division is warning Oregonians against buying and using fake COVID-19 vaccination cards. 

Some online vendors are selling the counterfeit cards presumably for people who don’t want to actually take the vaccine, but want to convince people that they did. Others are sharing templates for printing fraudulent vaccination cards at home.

Falsifying a federal document with the CDC seal is already shady, but FBI spokesperson Beth Anne Steele said it gets worse.

“Let’s say you use that vaccine card to show that you’ve been vaccinated to get into a gym or into a school, or some other facility where they’re asking you to show that card, and you are not indeed vaccinated,” said Steele. “They assume that you are, and then you are now potentially exposing other people within that facility to your potential COVID status.”

Asymptomatic carriers are still a major threat during the pandemic.  And falsifying government documents can land a steep fine, up to 20 years in prison, or both.

Oregon authorities are also pressing people not to share photos of their vaccination records online, due to privacy, security, and financial risks.

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Vaccination card with data redacted.

As more and more people get the COVID-19 shots, they’re proudly showing off their vaccination cards on social media.  Steele told KLCC that this exposes them to hackers and identity thieves.

“For instance, you post it on your Facebook page, and then the next post is your dog and you say, ‘Fluffy is a great partner.’  Many people will use their dog’s name as a password, right?  So by digging into your social media profiles, giving them that personal information, plus other public information, they’re able to potentially start logging into your other accounts.  So you put your bank and health accounts at risk, because you posted that card.”

People newly vaccinated are encouraged instead to post photos of them getting the shot, or stickers that indicate same. And if you really must show off your card, use graphics software to obscure or cover up sensitive information.

Copyright 2021, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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