(WSYR-TV) — We’re putting you on scam watch after a recent rise in fake COVID-19 vaccination cards.
With more events happening, experts say the scheme is becoming more advanced. Scammers are now also offering to hack databases to change vaccination status.
“We are seeing it be widespread, and part of that is because it’s being done across social media and e-commerce, where anybody who might run into it could become a participant in it,” said Miranda Bennet, HHS-OIG Special Agent.
Fake cards are popping up at colleges across the country.
“When I speak with students about the voluntary vaccination program, they personally know how to get these vaccination cards, and they know personally students who have submitted these to the university,” said Benjamin Meier, UNC Global Health Policy Professor.
The University of North Carolina saying students who give false information may face disciplinary action, including suspension.
The CEO of a company tracking counterfeits and e-commerce scams warns websites are not only offering fake vaccination cards, but services to change government and hospital databases.
“This is something we’ve never seen before. We’ve seen it in the dark web, we’ve seen it in Mr. Robot, but we’ve never seen it just broadly offered to the general public like it is right now,” said Saoud Khalifah, CEO of Fakespot.
Websites are pricing these fake vaccination cards at just $25.
The Department of Health and Human Services says they’ve found up to 20,000 websites related to COVID-19 scams since the beginning of the pandemic.
Here in New York State, a bill recently passes in the State Senate makes the falsification of COVID-19 vaccination records a crime as part of computer tampering in the third degree, which is a class E felony.