As Americans continue to live with the COVID-19 pandemic, scammers are coming up with new ways to try and take advantage of people or steal their information. Make sure you know how to protect yourself, your family and your vaccination data against scams.

“Only licensed professionals can provide you with a COVID-19 vaccine and vaccination card,” said Dr. Tracy Davis Bradley, executive director of VHA’s Office of Integrity and Compliance. “If anyone else tries to sell you a card or to make one for you, you should report it. That is illegal and dangerous.”

Protecting your health information is important, just like protecting your health. So, what do you need to know to guard yourself against COVID-19 vaccination card scams?

What to know

Creating, selling, buying or using a counterfeit vaccination card is illegal. The only place to receive a COVID-19 vaccination card is from a legitimate vaccine provider upon receiving your vaccine.

Forging or faking a vaccination card is punishable with up to five years in prison, and while fake cards may look real, the information on them can be checked and verified easily.

You should protect yourself and others by following the advice of “See Something, Say Something.” If you are approached about fake vaccination cards, do not engage with the scammer!

How to protect your information

You should never exchange any of your personal information, such as date of birth, address or social security number in exchange for vaccination information. This is a scammer’s way of trying to steal your personal data! Remember that you should only contact trusted providers for vaccines and vaccine information.

While we may be excited to share our vaccination status or booster update with our friends and family on social media, it’s not a good idea to post a picture of your vaccination card online. This can put you at risk for identity theft.

The Federal Trade Commission wants to remind everyone that your vaccination card contains important personal information. Scammers want this information so they can gather as much data on you as possible. They could also use the pictures of your real card to create fake ones. It’s best to keep this information off the internet to protect yourself.

See something, say something

Criminal activity: VA Office of Inspector General: VA OIG Hotline https://www.va.gov/oig/hotline/ or (800) 488-8244.

General instances of fraud, waste, and abuse: OIC Helpline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, (866) 842-4357 (VHA-HELP) or email: VHAOICHelpline@va.gov.

By Imran Ahmed is the VHA FWA senior advisor for the VHA Office of Integrity and Compliance

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Published on Jan. 19, 2022

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