By Travis Decaminada
Key Takeaway: Per the FBI, counterfeit Covid-19 vaccination cards are being sold online, despite their warning of potentially severe consequences for distributing or purchasing them. Reportedly, these counterfeit cards may increase the spread of Covid-19, ultimately prolonging the pandemic.
In an announcement in March 2021 The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) made clear “If You Make or Buy a Fake COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card, You Endanger Yourself and Those Around You, and You Are Breaking the Law”; yet counterfeit vaccination cards are still allegedly being distributed.
Per CBS News, blank or pre-filled cards are being sold all over the internet, including on sites like eBay, Etsy, and Shopify. Whereas websites like Facebook and Twitter are reportedly being used to advertise the cards. The article claims that several thousand counterfeit cards may have already been sold, and further, when online sites take action to ban accounts selling the cards, the sellers often just reappear under a different name.
One reported issue is the simplicity of the cards; being made of regular cardstock and often being marked with regular pens means that people could potentially counterfeit them at home quite easily.
The fact that these cards are being sold and promoted online has not escaped the attention of law enforcement. On April 1st, several dozen State Attorneys General sent a notice to Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, imploring the executive to ensure his platform is not used to distribute counterfeit cards. Further real-world consequences are reportedly beginning to occur as well. In California, a bar owner was reportedly one of the first people to be arrested for printing and selling counterfeit vaccination cards, per the Washington Post. How this particular case will play out is still in question, but the threat that these counterfeit cards pose is reportedly quite serious.
A Prolonged Pandemic
One Attorney General in particular, Josh Stein of North Carolina, purportedly highlighted just how serious the problem is saying "These cards will result in more people becoming sick by more variants of the virus and more people dying as the pandemic takes longer to get under control…By not getting the vaccine, it means more people will get infected with variants and that threatens everyone's health." The FBI clearly feels the same, with a spokesman reportedly saying “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,” per Forbes.