On Thursday, Apr. 8, a sudden surge in the number of fake COVID-19 vaccines and fake vaccine cards reached epidemic proportions on social platforms dealing with scammers exploiting the pandemic anxiety. These cards are being offered in outlets such as Facebook and eBay, along with many others. These sites have begun shutting down these operations so that these cards do not get sold.

Sudden Surge Of fake COVID-19 Cards

According to BusinessInsider, the sudden influx of counterfeit vaccines and forged vaccination cards online has overwhelmed social platforms as scammers take advantage of pandemic anxiety.

COVID-19 has made opportunists, such as those who hoarded hand sanitizer at the beginning of the outbreak or cheated recipients out of their stimulus checks. Scammers are taking advantage of the latest profit-making initiative: white cards that serve as evidence of vaccinations.

Hundreds of sellers have profited from the genuine demand for official vaccination cards among Americans. Despite policies prohibiting the sale of fake cards on their platforms, Facebook, Twitter, eBay, Etsy, and Shopify each hosted sellers that were selling phony vaccination certificates.

Unsurprisingly, the growing market for these cards coincides with increasing COVID-19 vaccinations in the United States. Proof of vaccination may be required soon as a passport to fly or enter large indoor and outdoor events and venues. In some parts of the country, vaccination programs have lacked momentum. In other areas, anti-vaccine advocates refuse vaccinations but wish to live their lives with minimal pandemic-related restrictions.

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Stopping the sale of fake COVID-19 Cards

According to a post in NewYorkTimes, the C.D.C. has stated that counterfeit Covid-19 vaccine cards have been reported. Therefore, individuals are urged not to submit images of their personal information or vaccine cards on social media.

Facebook, Twitter, eBay, Shopify, and Etsy disallowed these items' sales and took down posts advertising them.

The rapid rise in the number of fake vaccination cards led 46 attorneys general to call on Twitter, Shopify, and eBay to take "immediate" action against the trend. The letter urged the companies to monitor their users' content and "promptly" takedown posts selling fake cards.

In December 2020, the C.D.C. introduced vaccination cards, describing them as the "easiest" way to keep track of COVID-19 vaccinations. By January of this year, sales of counterfeit vaccination cards started to increase. Many people found that it was pretty easy to forge the cards based on sample cards available online. The actual cards were also stolen by pharmacists from their workplaces and sold.

The cards were purchased by many people who did not support vaccination with the Covid-19 vaccine. In some anti-vaccine groups on Facebook, people boasted about getting the cards.

Some buyers intend to use the cards to get a vaccination from their pharmacists. Since some vaccines involve a two-shot sequence, people may use a false date on a vaccination card to make it appear as though they require a second dose soon. Some pharmacies and state vaccination sites give different priorities to individuals who need their second vaccination.

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Written by Lionell Moore

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