Fake vaccine cards popping up in Wisconsin, state says

Coronavirus

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — There is a growing black market for something many of us already have legitimately — vaccine cards. And the state says they’re already showing up here.

“We have received a number of businesses around the state offering to make vaccine cards for people who have not been vaccinated,” said Anthony Blaize, DHS Inspector General.

It is turning into a cause for concern, right here at home. People trying to either buy, or sell, fake vaccination cards online. They have popped up on sites like Amazon, Etsy, even eBay.

“It is happening in Wisconsin and it’s something we hope we can stop,” said Blaize.

The state is working hard to catch the fake cards, which are showing up virtually everywhere.

“We’ve had reports from the northern part of the state. We’ve had reports from the counties surrounding the Milwaukee area, but there doesn’t seem to be any real geographic center of where the cards are being produced,” added Blaize.

The fact they are being made everywhere, and so readily available online, makes them hard to track down.

A bill being discussed in Illinois would allow you to sue those that make a fake card. Damages in those lawsuits would start at around $10,000.

In Hawaii, two people were arrested after they arrived in the state with fake cards. In California, a bar owner was arrested for selling fake cards to undercover state agents.

HOW DO YOU TELL REAL FROM FAKE?

It comes down to tiny details to be able to distinguish real from fake. Those tiny details can also get you in a lot of trouble.

If it’s a two dose vaccine, like Pfzier or Moderna, pay close attention to the “lot numbers.”

“If those numbers are the same, or if does two is a lower lot number than the first dose, then chances are that card has been faked,” explained Blaize. “Typically, people waited three or more weeks to get their second shot, so if you see somebody got their second shot a week after their first, or one or two weeks after the first one, then there’s a chance that that card is fake as well.”

What makes it illegal is using the CDC or FDA logo on a false document. That is a federal crime.

Experts also warn, if you fall for one of these cards and think you’re out of the clear, think again. The people you bought it from now you have your financial information, too.

“The proliferation of these fake cards is actually going to make things more difficult for people in the future because if people can’t trust if the cards are legitimate, then we are going to move to even more cumbersome forms of identification to show that people are actually vaccinated,” said Blaize.

Since there is no vaccine mandate in place for most companies, the state’s Inspector General says you should just think twice.

“It’s just a bad idea,” said Blaize. “The risk associated with creating the cards and with buying one of these cards far outweighs whatever perceived benefit there is.”

CHECKING TO MAKE SURE THE CARD IS LEGITIMATE

If you are a business, or if you’re just curious what information the state has for your vaccines or other shots, you can visit the state’s immunization registry online. There you will find a complete list of all immunizations on record.

HOW TO REPORT FAKE VACCINE CARDS

If you know or suspect that any health care provider, pharmacy, private business, or Wisconsin resident is creating, distributing, selling, buying or forging COVID-19 vaccination cards in-person or online, please report such conduct to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Office of Inspector General at 877-865-3432 or online with the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General at 800-HHS-TIPS or its website; or the Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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