The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says consumers are asking for trouble if they buy fake proof-of-vaccination cards or a document that falsely says their COVID-19 test results were negative.
The agency says scammers are out in force looking for suckers who need to show proof for things like getting (or keeping) a job or obtaining certain kinds of clearance, like admission to an event.
“Know that buying fake vaccine cards, making your own, or filling in blank cards with false information is illegal and could get you fined, or even land you in jail,” the FTC’s Colleen Tressler warns.
Don’t cross these lines
Tressler says there are lines that, if crossed, can also cause other problems. She offered these tips:
Don’t share personal information with people you don’t know. Scammers will turn the tables and sell your data or use it to commit identity theft.
The only legitimate way to get proof that you’re vaccinated -- or that you test negative — is to GET vaccinated or to TEST negative. If you lose that proof, check with your state health department or the place you got vaccinated to find out how you might be able to get a replacement.
The FTC is asking Americans who spot a fake vaccine card to do the following:
Report it to the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-HHS-TIPS or oig.hhs.gov.
File a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
File a report with the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
“Your report can make a difference. We use reports like yours to investigate, bring law enforcement cases, and alert people about what frauds to be on the lookout for so they can protect themselves, their friends, and family,” Tressler said.