As the eligibility range expands for the COVID-19 vaccine, so does the percentage of young people receiving the vaccine. And while we — teens and young adults — are key figures to achieving herd immunity, I’ve noticed a concerning amount of social media posts announcing people’s vaccination status.
I definitely understand the urge to post a selfie with your vaccine card. After all, this is a monumental moment in history that is incredibly exciting to experience. However, releasing your vaccination card online can potentially do more harm than good.
A majority of the information on your vaccination card, like your birthday or full name, can be found online through several Google searches. But a vaccine card provides two more pieces of information that scammers can use to create their fake profile of you.
Your vaccination card has your first and last name, middle initial, date of birth, medical number (if it's included on your card), and the date and location of when and where you received your vaccine. The release of your medical number leaves you susceptible to medical identity theft. That’s something the Federal Trade Commission warns can include an individual receiving bills for medical services they did not receive, being contacted by debt collectors about medical debt they do not owe, or seeing medical collection notices on their credit report they don’t recognize.
According to Business Insider, scammers have been able to create fake vaccine cards based off of images online to sell to people who are booking cruises or trips abroad. Fake cards have even been listed at prices of up to $1,000.
And false vaccine cards aren’t the only hot coronavirus-related item on the digital market. Negative COVID-19 tests are being sold as well, reports Business Insider, citing a site called Check Point Research which details "In less than 24 hours, travelers can buy a negative COVID-19 test under deals of 'buy 2 get the 3rd for free'...Travelers can also auto-generate a negative COVID-19 test result in less than 30 minutes for as low as $25."
Card duplication is by no means a legal or safe option, especially if we are hoping to protect the health of others. To prevent the opportunity for these scams to arise, keeping your vaccine card away from the internet is a responsible bet.
What to do instead of posting on social media
Post a picture of your vaccination sticker!
You usually get a vaccine sticker after either your first or second dose, or both. Vaccine stickers don’t contain any personal information on them. So it’s a safe way of showing your status.
Post a picture of you receiving the vaccine!
You can always pose for a quick photo while at the vaccination center as a neat way of letting people know you are prepared to receive a dose, or have received a dose already.
Simply inform others of your vaccination status
Whether that be through a personal text or a short blurb on your social media story, you can always just use your words.
If you have detected signs of COVID-19 health care fraud, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services wants you to either report it immediately online or call 800-HHS-TIPS (800-447-8477).