San Francisco – Small rectangular slips of paper began to appear for sale in late January, on Etsy, eBay, Facebook and Twitter. Printed on card stock, they measured three-four inches and displayed crisp black letters. Sellers listed them for $ 20 to $ 60 each, with discounts on bundles of three or more. Extra cost in laminate.
All Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had fake or fake copies Vaccination card, Which is given to people vaccinated against Kovid-19 in the United States.
Saud Khalifa, founder of FakeSpot, said, “We found hundreds of online stores selling cards, possibly thousands sold.”
Coronoviruses have made many people opportunistic, similar to them. Hand sanitizer bottles filled At the onset of the epidemic or those The fraudsters put their excitement out of the check. Now online scammers have moved on to the latest profit making initiative: small white cards that provide proof of shots.
Mr. Khalifa said that online stores offering fake or stolen vaccine cards have evolved in recent weeks. With a Facebook page named “Wax-Card” and an eBay listing with “Empty Vaccine Card”, the efforts are hidden from far away, openly hawking items.
Legal experts said selling fake vaccination cards could break federal laws, which prohibit copying the CDC logo. If the cards were stolen and the wrong number and date were filled in, they could also violate identity theft laws, he said.
But profiteers have put forward pressure as the demand for the card has increased from anti-vaccine activists and other groups. Airlines And other companies have recently stated that they may require proof of Kovid-19 vaccination so that people can travel safely or participate in events.
Cards can also be central “Vaccine passport, “Which offer digital proof of vaccination. Some tech companies that develop vaccine passports ask people to upload copies of their CDC cards. Los Angeles also recently Started using CDC card for vaccination of its own digital proof.
Last week, 45 state attorney generals banded together to make calls on Twitter, Shopify and eBay to block the sale of false and stolen vaccine cards. Officials said they were monitoring the activity and worried that uncivilized people would participate in large incidents to misuse the cards, possibly spreading the virus and prolonging the epidemic.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said, “We’re seeing a huge market online for these false cards, whose office has investigated virus-related fraud.” This is a dangerous practice that undermines public health. “
The CDC stated that it was “aware of fraudulent cases regarding a fake Kovid-19 vaccine card.” It asked people not to share their personal information or vaccine card photos on social media.
Facebook, Twitter, eBay, Shopify and Etsy said the sale of counterfeit vaccine cards violated their rules and they were removing posts advertising the items.
The CDC introduced vaccination cards in December, describing them as the simplest way to keep track of Kovid-19 shots. By January, false vaccine card sales had begun, Mr. Khalifa said. Many found that the card was easy to make from the samples available online. He said that authentic cards were also stolen by pharmacists from their workplaces and kept for sale.
Many people who bought the card were opposed to Kovid-19 vaccines, Mr. Khalifa said. In some anti-vaccine groups on Facebook, people have publicly boasted about receiving the card.
“My body is my choice”, wrote a commentator in a Facebook post last month. Another person replied, “I can’t even qualify, to wait.”
Mr. Khalifa said that other buyers want to use the card to give the vaccine to the pharmacist. Because some vaccines are two-shot regimens, people may enter a false date for the first inoculation on the card, making it appear as if they need a second dose sooner. Some pharmacies and state immunization sites have prioritized people because of their second shots.
An Etsy seller, who declined to be identified, said he recently sold dozens of counterfeit vaccine cards for $ 20. She justified her actions by saying that she was helping people escape a “tyrannical government”. She said that she did not plan to vaccinate.
Vaccine supporters say they are troubled by the proliferation of counterfeit and stolen cards. To hold those accountable, Biloxi, Miss. Savannah Sparks, a pharmacist in the UK, began posting videos on TicketLock last month that named fake vaccine card vendors.
In one video, Ms. Sparks described how she had tracked down the name of a pharmacy technician in Illinois who enrolled several cards for herself and her husband, and then posted about it online. The pharmacy technician had not revealed his identity, but linked the post to his social media accounts, where he used his real name. The video has received 1.2 million views.
“It made me so mad that a pharmacist was using her access and status like this,” Ms Sparks said. The video caught the attention of the Illinois Pharmacists Association, which said the video informed the state board for further investigation.
Ms. Sparks said her work attracted opponents and vaccine opponents who have threatened her and posted her home phone number and address online. But he was unquestioned.
Pharmacists said, “They should be advocating for people to get vaccinated.” “Instead, they are trying to use their positions to spread fear and help people get the vaccine.”
The Pennsylvania Attorney General, Mr. Shapiro, said that in addition to violating federal copyright laws, the sale of counterfeit and stolen cards broke civil and consumer protection laws mandating that an item be used as an advertisement . The card also may violate state laws about impersonation, he said.
“We want to see them stop immediately,” Mr. Shapiro said of the fraudsters. “And we want to see companies take serious and immediate action.”