San Francisco-In late January, almost no rectangular notes were sold on Etsy, eBay, Facebook and Twitter. They are printed on cardstock and measure three by four inches with clear black lettering. The price listed by the seller is US$20 to US$60 each, with discounts when three or more bundles are sold. An additional fee is required for lamination.
All of these are counterfeit or counterfeit vaccination cards of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They are provided to people receiving Covid-19 vaccination in the United States.
The coronavirus has created opportunists among many people, such as those who hoarded hand sanitizer at the beginning of the pandemic or who cheated recipients from stimulus tests. Now, online scammers have mastered the latest profit plan: a small white card that provides proof of shooting.
Khalifa said that online shops offering fake or stolen vaccine cards have sprung up in recent weeks. These efforts are far from hidden. The Facebook page is called “vax-cards”, and the eBay listing contains “blank vaccine cards” for public sale of these items.
Legal experts say that selling fake vaccination cards may violate federal laws that prohibit copying the CDC logo. They said that if these cards were stolen and filled in with the wrong numbers and dates, they could also violate identity theft laws.
However, as the demand for cards from anti-vaccine activists and other organizations continues to grow, the beneficiaries keep moving forward. Airlines and other companies have recently stated that they may need a Covid-19 immunization certificate so that people can travel or participate in events safely.
These cards may also become the core of a “vaccine passport,” which provides a digital vaccination certificate. Some technology companies that develop vaccine passports require people to upload copies of their CDC cards. Los Angeles also recently started using CDC cards for its own digital immunization certificates.
Last week, 45 state attorneys jointly called on Twitter, Shopify and eBay to stop selling fake and stolen vaccine cards. Officials said they are monitoring the event and worry that unvaccinated people will abuse the card to participate in large-scale events, which may spread the virus and prolong the epidemic.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said: “We have seen a huge market for these fake cards online,” and his office has investigated fraud related to the virus. “This is a dangerous practice that endangers public health.”
The CDC said that it was “aware of fraud cases related to forged Covid-19 vaccine cards.” It asked people not to share their personal information or images of vaccine cards on social media.
Facebook, Twitter, eBay, Shopify and Etsy stated that the sale of fake vaccine cards violated their regulations and they are deleting posts promoting these products.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched a vaccination card in December, describing it as the “simplest” way to track Covid-19 vaccination. Khalifa said that by January, sales of fake vaccine cards began to pick up. Many people find that it is easy to forge cards from samples available online. He said that genuine medicine cards were also stolen and sold by pharmacists from his workplace.
Khalifa said that many people who buy cards are opposed to the Covid-19 vaccine. In some anti-vaccine groups on Facebook, people publicly boasted about getting documents.
“My body is my choice,” wrote a comment on Facebook last month. Another person replied, “Can’t wait to get mine, haha.”
Khalifa said that other buyers wanted to use these cards to trick pharmacists into vaccinating them. Since some vaccines are injected twice, people can enter the wrong date for the first vaccination on the card, which seems to make them seem to need a second dose soon. Some pharmacies and state vaccination sites have prioritized the population for the second injection.
An Etsy seller who asked not to be named stated that she recently sold dozens of fake vaccine cards for $20 each. She said that she was helping people escape the “authoritarian government” in order to justify her actions. She added that she did not plan to be vaccinated.
Vaccine supporters say they are troubled by the proliferation of forged and stolen cards. In order to hold these people accountable, Savannah Sparks, a pharmacist in Biloxi, Michigan, began posting videos on TikTok last month, appointing sellers of fake vaccine cards.
In a video, Ms. Sparks explained how she found the name of a pharmacy technician in Illinois. The technician took a few cards for herself and her husband, and then posted information about the card online. The pharmacy technician did not reveal her identity, but linked the post to her social media account and used her real name in it. The video has been viewed 1.2 million.
Ms. Sparks said: “This makes me very angry. The pharmacist is using her channel and location in this way.” Conduct further investigation.
Ms. Sparks said that her work attracted many opponents and vaccine opponents who threatened her and posted her home phone number and address online. But she was not frustrated by this.
She said of pharmacists: “They should advocate people to get vaccinated first.” “On the contrary, they are trying to use their position to spread fear and help people avoid vaccination.”
Pennsylvania Attorney General Shapiro said that in addition to violating federal copyright laws, selling counterfeit and stolen cards is likely to violate civil law and consumer protection laws, which stipulate that items can be used for advertising. He said these cards may also violate state laws regarding counterfeiting.
Shapiro said of the fraudsters: “We want to see them stop immediately.” “And we want to see these companies take serious action immediately.”