‘It’s really dangerous’: Experts crack down on fake COVID-19 vaccine cards being sold online

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Some online users have seen an opportunity to start making fake COVID-19 vaccine cards for people who don’t want the shot.

Though Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state will not be doing vaccine passports, some experts said regardless of that, people will have to show their vaccine cards in certain situations.

People know that, so they want the card.

READ: What to do if you lose your COVID-19 vaccination card

Pharmacist Savannah Sparks for the last year has been on TikTok trying to advocate for evidence-based medicine and sharing videos to fight misinformation about COVID-19 and the vaccines.

“Especially because TikTok is predominately for younger people,” Sparks said.

While on the app, she started seeing posts where people were selling blank, fake COVID-19 vaccine cards.

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“It’s really dangerous because when you threaten public health, that’s not something that I take lightly, and I’m not going to sit idly by and just say, ‘Please don’t do this,’” Sparks said.

So she started doing some digging, found their information and shared where they work, and their bosses started finding out.

So why are people doing this?

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“All of us may need to be able to produce, on demand, either negative COVID tests or proof of a vaccine to either travel, to work, to get a job,” said Brian Linder with Check Point Research.

But it’s not just users on social media. Cybercriminals on the dark web are capitalizing on it too.

“You may be able to buy a fake vaccine card or a negative test to meet a need, but you’re really putting your identity at risk of doing that,” Linder said. “For those people that don’t want to get the vaccine, don’t give in to the temptation.”

READ: Here’s where to find the COVID-19 vaccine in your county

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody called on eBay, Shopify and Twitter to act immediately to prevent scammers from selling bogus cards on their platforms.

She said the fake cards threaten the health of communities, slow progress in getting people protected from the virus and violate many state laws.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.