Got the COVID vaccine? Don't show your card online, BBB warns

Feb 1, 2021

If you’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine and feel the need to show off your vaccination card on social media, the Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York offers this message: don’t.

Many who have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine have celebrated the occasion by posting selfies on social media platforms, featuring their vaccination cards.

Credit bbb.org

Those cards include the patient's name, date of birth, the time and location of the vaccination, and the name of the vaccine's manufacturer. That information, according to the Bureau, could provide online scammers with enough information to begin digging further for potential identity theft.

“And they can find you on the internet, they can call you, they could shoot you an email. They can take that form and make a copy of it, and distribute it to people who haven't gotten their vaccine yet," said Melanie McGovern, Communications Director for the Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York. "There's a lot of ways that scammers can use this information."

For example, it could be used by the scammer to contact the cardholder and, under the guise of offering to confirm or reschedule a second vaccine shot, ask for medical coverage information. Another possible scenario is, if vaccination cards become a requirement for international travel, scammers sell copies to users who may not necessarily seek the shot but wish to travel outside the US.

McGovern urges people to be careful with what they post online, not just in photographs but in social media activities. Even seemingly innocent games or activities could provide scammers with a good starting point for identity theft.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, we saw the senior year challenge where everybody was posting their senior photo, the year they graduated from high school, the school they went to, the mascot. All of those are security questions on financial websites,” she said.

The Better Business Bureau notes that scammers were recently caught in Great Britain selling fake vaccination cards on eBay and TikTok. They also provide their own tips for protecting your own information.