Oregon FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense Against Fake COVID-19 Vaccine Cards
Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. Today: Building a digital defense against fake COVID-19 vaccine ID cards.
The Delta variant is causing many Oregon governments, schools, and businesses to issue new mandates concerning vaccines, testing, and mask-wearing. While we all learn to navigate this new world, one thing is clear: more and more of us will be asked to prove that we are vaccinated. For some people, their employer may require it. For others, it may be the neighborhood restaurant or bar owner who wants to know your status before you are allowed to enter. At this point, that vaccination card you received when you got your shots is like gold. It’s not surprising that scammers are trying to make a buck on the situation by creating fraudulent cards… but there is also concern that unvaccinated people are looking to skirt the rules with unauthorized fakes.
The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center—or IC3.gov—issued a warning about this problem earlier this year. With the virus resurgence, though, it is time for a refresher. If you did not receive the vaccine, do not buy fake vaccine cards, do not make your own vaccine cards, and do not fill-in blank vaccination record cards with false information. 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, you need to know that the unauthorized use of a government agency’s seal is a violation of federal law. This includes the seals for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Because individuals may use fake vaccine cards to misrepresent themselves as vaccinated, we strongly encourage businesses, schools, places of worship, and government agencies to follow CDC guidance when it comes to distancing, masking, and vaccinations.
If you believe are a victim of an online scam, you should report the incident to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your FBI local office.