The market for fake vaccination cards appears to be growing along with the growing list of states and companies requiring a COVID-19 vaccine.
The market for fake vaccination cards, distributed after a person received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has created an opportunity for people to bypass warrants of vaccination of employers, businesses and government.
In September, President Biden issued a decree compulsory vaccination for federal employees as well as for private sector employees and health care workers. A strong backlash followed, with states like Florida and Texas publicly criticizing the president’s decision and some states coming together to sue the Biden administration over his vaccine mandate.
The response was also swift online, with Check Point Software Technologies, a cybersecurity solutions company, analyze the fake vaccines market and started noticing hundreds of advertisements for fake vaccination cards.
Check Point said it started seeing bogus advertisements for vaccination cards as early as December 2020 and in March 2021 there was a 400% increase from previous months. This matches the global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines earlier this year.
Fast forward to September 2021, Check Point also found that after President Biden announced a national vaccination mandate, the cost of fake CDC vaccination cards in the United States increased from $ 100 to $ 200.
The Guardian also conducted its own investigation and identified seven sellers on the encrypted Telegram messaging app who have been repeatedly reported for selling fake vaccination cards. Online DIY retailer Etsy has also been turned out to host sellers of fake vaccines, according to Media Matters.
Fake vaccination cards aren’t just a growing presence in the United States, Check Point has identified 29 countries around the world, from the United Kingdom and Canada to India and Australia, all facing the same challenge.
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announcement that since August, the agency had seized five shipments containing 1,683 counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards and 2,034 fake Pfizer vaccination stickers. Officers noticed that the forged documents contained spelling errors and poor print quality. According to CBP, the shipments originated from China and were headed to private residences in Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, New York and Texas.
âCreating or buying a fake COVID-19 vaccination card is illegal, not to say dangerous,â said Richard Gillespie, port manager for CBP Cincinnati.
Gillespie went on to explain that by buying counterfeit vaccination cards, consumers are supporting criminals who only care about making their bank accounts richer and not concerned about the safety or health of the United States.
In July, the Justice Department also announced that it had arrested californian naturopathic doctor for her alleged scheme of selling fake COVID-19 vaccine cards and vaccination lozenges which she claims provide immunity against the virus.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) posted a blog post explaining the phenomenon of fake vaccination cards and said that, technically, CDC COVID-19 vaccination cards were not designed to prove a person’s vaccination status. This prompted some states, businesses, and schools to create their own verification products, such as apps on cellphones, which allowed crooks to take advantage of consumer confusion.
The FTC has warned consumers to be skeptical of anyone selling vaccine verification certificates or passports and to report any COVID-19 scammers to reportfraud.ftc.gov.
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