FBI cracking down on fake vaccination cards

Coronavirus

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Vaccination cards will likely become a part of everyday life, especially when it comes to admissions to indoor events like shows, concerts, or sports games. With these requirements, fake vaccine cards have already appeared for sale on online platforms like eBay and Twitter. 

Now the FBI is cracking down, saying it will prosecute the distribution of forgeries as a federal crime, but they’re not the only organization stepping in to limit forgeries.

In addition, 45 attorney generals across the country, recently sent a letter to the CEOs of Twitter, eBay, and Shopify asking that these companies monitor and not allow sales of these fake vaccine cards on their platforms.

As California continues to reopen, many indoor events will require proof of vaccination or a negative test, putting more pressure on those not vaccinated to get the shot.

Whether they can’t get an appointment or they’re hesitant to get the vaccine altogether, some people will use fake vaccination cards.

University of California San Francisco Parnassus Campus infectious disease expert, Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, says those attempting to use fake vaccine cards are ultimately only hurting themselves.

“I’m really really worried not just because of liability from a financial or prosecution perspective or liability in other ways but really as a personal risk of getting COVID at a time when covid is much more serious than one year ago with the new variants,” Chin-Hong said.

Fake vaccine cards have already popped up on some online platforms for sale and federal and state authorities are now preparing to crack down on forged cards.

In a statement to NewsNation affiliate KRON4 on Wednesday, a department of justice spokesperson said: 

“False and deceptive marketing and sales of these fake COVID vaccine cards on popular websites like eBay, Twitter, and Shopify only slow the progress of protecting Californians and all Americans from the virus. We urge these companies to take immediate action to prevent their platforms from being used to commit these deceptive acts.”

The FBI also issued a warning that it is illegal to sell or buy fraudulent coronavirus vaccination cards and it will prosecute the distribution of forgeries as a federal crime.

For venues, this will become similar to another form of identification they have to verify but Devon Dossett, general manager of DNA Lounge in San Francisco, says that might be difficult to do since the paper cards can easily be manipulated.

“If that’s what we have to do, we’ll do it, Dossett said. “I don’t think it’s going to work out the way they hope it is.”

However, Dossett believes lack of vaccinations won’t be a large concern for the city.

“The bulk of San Francisco and Bay Area residents are getting vaccinated. We are way ahead of the curve,” Dossett said.

There’s also been talks about verifying vaccination records digitally but some worry that will become an issue of equity.

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