FBI Warns Fake COVID Vaccine Cards Could Lead to Prison Time

Taking a chance on a fake COVID-19 vaccination card seems like an easy way to get around requirements, but think again before you land yourself in prison.

Updated 14 September 2021
FBI Warns Fake COVID Vaccine Cards Could Lead to Prison Time
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United States Scam & Fraud Statistics 2020

$3.3 billion total fraud losses
4.7 million fraud reports

1.4 million reports of identity theft

Source: 2019-20 Consumer Sentinel Report

With more requirements to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination coming into place, it can be tempting to buy or create your own fake vaccine card. However, officials warn that doing so could land you huge fines and even jail time.

Currently, 20 states in the U.S. have banned requirements to show proof of vaccination, leaving most states open to this requirement. As a result, it's becoming more common to have to show your vaccination card at colleges, when traveling, and even at local bars and restaurants. 

To get around this requirement, instead of getting vaccinated, many are turning to use fake COVID-19 vaccination cards, either by:

  • Buying them on sites like eBay and Craigslist
  • Photocopying someone else's card
  • Photoshopping their own fake card

As tempting as it may be to fashion yourself a fake card, authorities warn of the consequences of being caught with a fake. 

Vaccine Passports

Learn more about vaccine passports and where you may need to show proof of your COVID-19 vaccination

Two people traveling to Hawaii used false vaccination cards to pass the state's requirements to show proof of vaccination or negative COVID test results to bypass the 10-day quarantine requirement. The two were arrested and faced fines of up to $5,000. 

In a more severe case, two U.S. residents traveling to Canada were each fined over $15,000 after providing fake proof of vaccination and coronavirus test results. 

The Canada Public Health Agency says that submitting false information about your COVID-19 vaccination status can result in a CA$750,000 fine ($600,000), up to six months imprisonment, or both. 

Selling fake vaccination cards can land you in even hotter water, landing you criminal charges for:

  • Identity theft
  • Forging government documents
  • Falsifying medical records
Statement from the FBI

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.

Experts have also warned against taking selfies with your vaccination card and posting them online, on public forums, and social media accounts. 

Regional Director of the Better Business Bureau, Marilyn Huffman, said of vaccination cards, "That card does have very personal information on it that can be utilized to steal your identity."

Identity theft can take years to recover from and can impact your credit report and lead to lost money. 


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