Risking it All: The Rise of Counterfeit Vaccination Cards
Updated: Oct 25, 2021
By: Reagan Williams
Typically, the common assumption people generally make about the US Customs and Border Patrol are, these agents deal with the smuggling of drugs into the country i.e. marijuana, cocaine and heroin. Meanwhile, that’s not always the case. In fact, there are a host of items these officers prohibit from entering the country that are categorized i.e. automobiles, fruits and vegetables to even animal fur. Currently, US Customs and Border Protection officers in Memphis, Tennessee have been seizing fake COVID-19 vaccination cards on a regular basis.
Shockingly, there is a market for counterfeit vaccination cards as people are returning to college and on-site to their respective jobs. The shipments are coming from Shenzhen, China and heading to New Orleans, Louisiana which supplies dozens of blank counterfeit cards. These cards have the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention logo on the top with blank spaces for people to write in their name, date of birth and vaccine information. Most cards have typos, misspelled words and Spanish written on the back as giveaways that they are counterfeit. It is being reported that border patrol officers are receiving vaccine shipments as many as 15 per day.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, vaccination cards were not intended to be long-term “proof” that a person was vaccinated. Forging a card is considered to be a federal crime that is punishable by a fine and up to five years in prison. It is a crime for a person to wrongfully use government seals e.g., CDC or Health and Human Services. The FBI has been warning the public against making, selling or encouraging fake printouts of cards since the spring. State Attorney Generals have warned against selling counterfeit vaccination cards on social media sites and other internet platforms. Additionally, people who use fake vaccination cards to access businesses, venues, or their place of work are putting people at risk.
Why do people feel the need to get a counterfeit vaccination card? Well, if you’re a college student returning to school, a person with a state or government job or working for a company that requires vaccination and isn't vaccinated, or trying to enter certain venues that request a vaccination card, this could be the reason why. For example, most colleges are following the recommendation that students should receive the COVID-19 shot before returning to campus unless there are medical exemptions set in place for particular circumstances e.g. religious exemptions. However, a person might have to choose to enroll online if they elect to not get vaccinated depending on the college. The Best Colleges site featured universities that insist students take the COVID-19 vaccination.
(Source: Pexels, Photo by Rodnae Productions)
Unfortunately, college students are resorting to using forged vaccination cards to attend in-person classes for their education. Some people are making the choice of an in-person education versus an online education or not having one at all. If you are selling fake vaccination cards or using one in both instances you are taking costly risks. Some of the penalties besides fines or prison time are termination of employment and possible expulsion from the college. If you purchase a fake vaccination card, you can become a victim of identity theft. You can report activity involving fake vaccination record cards to the appropriate government agency in your state jurisdiction, Heath and Human Services, Office of Inspector General or the Internet Crime Complaint Center. It is everyone’s choice to choose to be vaccinated or not. Yet, if you decide not to make well informed choices and take risky chances that can jeopardize your future, be prepared to deal with the repercussions.
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