FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — More than 1.6 million Kentuckians have received their first shot of the coronavirus vaccine, and the state is trying to keep the momentum going, but a recent threat to immunization efforts popping up across the nation is the online selling of fake COVID-19 vaccination cards.
Blank coronavirus vaccination cards are being found for sale on sites like eBay, Shopify, and OfferUp, according to the National Association of Attorneys General.
“I've seen reports that scammers are trying to sell fake COVID vaccine cards for anywhere from twenty dollars to eighty dollars, to even a couple hundred dollars,” said LaDonna Koebel with the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office.
There have been no complaints filed claiming fake vaccination cards are being sold or bought in Kentucky to date, according to Koebel.
However, the issue has captured national attention, and Attorney General Daniel Cameron has joined 44 state leaders in demanding online retailers crack down on illegal sales.
“The false and deceptive marketing and sales of fake COVID vaccine cards threatens the health of our communities, slows progress in getting our residents protected from the virus, and are a violation of the laws of many states,” reads the most recent letter to OfferUp.com released on Monday.
Kentucky does not require residents to present a vaccination card to participate in events, travel, or enter venues. However, some countries have debated requiring ‘vaccine passports’ to prove immunization against COVID-19 before allowing travelers into their borders.
Koebel said in this situation, buying a fake COVID-19 vaccination card might seem appealing to those who do not want to get vaccinated, but wish to travel to another country, but the consequences could be grave.
“A falsified COVID vaccine card involves all the different issues. It is a medical record. It’s also a federal document with the CDC logo, and it’s potentially identity theft,” she said. “That is a federal crime.”
The FBI has also issued a warning against making, selling, or purchasing counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination record cards.
“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,” reads the FBI public service announcement. “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.”
The Kentucky Attorney General’s Office asks anyone who sees falsified documents being sold online to report the scam. You can submit a report to the office by visiting ag.ky.gov/scams or by calling the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1 (888)-432-9257.