Scammers turn to new COVID-19 scam: Fake vaccination cards

Investigations

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — In most cases within the United States people do not have to show proof of vaccination. However, some circumstances, like travel outside the country, attendance for certain events, or employment, require proof and scammers are taking advantage.

Amazon just recently removed an ad for fake vaccination cards on its website. Reports have been made of people stealing the cards for their employers.

COVID-19 vaccines are not mandatory in Tennessee and it is a person’s choice to decide to roll up their sleeve. However, if you do receive one of the three shots you are given an important medical record: a COVID-19 vaccination card.

The card includes the date of the shot, for both the first and second one, and which shot you received. With the delta variant leading to more hospitalizations, some companies are requiring their employees to be fully vaccinated. As a result, the Better Business Bureau reports bogus medical cards are now flooding the black market.

They are just on card stock,” BBB President Tony Binkley said. “So, there is no special paper. They’re easy to falsify.”

Across the country, federal and state investigators have arrested people for operating and selling fake vaccination cards.

“We have seen a lot of it in the Memphis area, there is a hub there, FedEx works out of there,” Binkley said. “That seems to be one of the hot spots where the cards are coming in from. Yes, we’ve seen all kinds of things out there for these fake cards anywhere from a couple of hundred (dollars) to 500 (dollars). You know, the vaccine is free.

“Yes, we have heard of reports of trying to download a COVID-19 app to prove you have been vaccinated. As far as we know the government has no plans to do that. So, if you get a call about that be really skeptical because ultimately they just want your personal information.”

A few of the people producing the fake vaccination record cards make them easy to spot if you have a keen eye.

Here is are some things to remember: Fake vaccination cards are illegal and while they’re easy to duplicate, the bottom line is they don’t do you any good if you want to avoid coming down with COVID-19.

“And it costs you more money to get a fake card than it does to get the shot,” Binkley said. “Plus, if you do that you might be putting other people at risk.”

Be skeptical of any vaccine passport app that claims to be from the U.S. government.

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