- How the Fake Vaccine Card Identity Theft Scam Works
- How to Beat this Scam
- What to Do After Buying Fake COVID Vaccination Card
- Frequently Asked Questions
If you think buying a fake vaccine card to bypass mandatory vaccination requirements is a good idea, think again. Not only is using fake vaccination cards illegal, but scammers are not only charging crazy fees (up to a few hundred dollars each), but they're also stealing your information and committing identity theft.
Fake COVID-19 vaccination cards are no longer being sold just to make money. Scammers are now also promising to have your name added to a national COVID-19 vaccine database, but in fact, they are just going to steal your identity.
How the Fake Vaccine Card Identity Theft Scam Works
Whether you are just choosing not to get the COVID-19 vaccine or just haven't gotten around to it yet, you need proof of vaccine for something. Maybe your workplace requires all staff to be vaccinated, or you're planning an overseas holiday soon—regardless of the reason, you need a vaccine card, and choose to buy a fake vaccine card. Here's how this scam works.
Don't Buy Fake COVID-19 Vaccination Cards!
Buying and/or selling fake COVID-19 vaccination cards is illegal and could land you in prison for several years.
You Buy a Fake COVID-19 Vaccination Card
You find someone online that is selling phony vaccination cards. One of the most common places to find fake cards is on social media, of all places. Platforms like Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram are full of scammers, just waiting to steal your identity and money.
All you need is the card, but the seller says they can also get your name on the national vaccine database, legitimizing the fake vaccination.
You Provide Your Personal Information
To get you registered on the national vaccine database, the scammer asks for your personal information, such as your:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Social Security number (SSN)
- Email address
You Receive the Card, But Your Identity is Stolen
You pay the money and end up receiving the fake vaccine card, but what you don't realize (at least until it's too late) is that your name is not added to any national database, and your identity is now compromised.
The scammer may not use your information immediately, but eventually, you'll start seeing unauthorized transactions on your accounts. With your data, the scammer can now:
- Access your online accounts.
- Apply for credit cards and loans in your name
- Claim unemployment benefits in your name
- Commit fraud using your identity
- Hack into your bank accounts and withdraw money or make unauthorized purchases
How to Beat this Scam
To beat this scam, simply don't buy COVID-19 vaccination cards. Even if you have gotten a vaccination and just need a replacement card, any card that you buy is a fake.
Never Buy COVID-19 Vaccination Cards
If you need a replacement vaccination card, contact your vaccine provider or your state health department. Anyone selling COVID-19 vaccine cards is a scammer.
If someone attempts to sell you a vaccine card or promises to get your name added to a national vaccine database, don't believe it. Don't give them any information, especially not your Social Security number or banking information.
What to Do After Buying Fake COVID Vaccination Card
If you bought a fake COVID-19 vaccination card by accident, you should report it to:
- Your financial institution and dispute the transaction. Depending on how you paid for the card, you may be able to get the transaction reversed or cancelled (if you act quickly enough).
- Unfortunately, scammers usually use a form of payment that is untraceable and irreversible.
- The FBI's Internet Crime and Complaint Center (IC3), if you bought it online.
- Your state's local authorities.
Regardless of whether you bought the card on purpose or by accident, if you gave the seller any of your personal information, you should:
- Contact your bank (if you paid using a credit card), cancel your card, and have a new one issued with a new card number.
- Place a fraud alert on your credit report or freeze your credit completely—this is especially important if you gave the scammer your SSN.
- Regularly monitor your accounts, including your emails, bank accounts, and other online accounts, for suspicious activity.
The key to recovering from identity theft is to act quickly and to keep an eye on your accounts.