Beware of vaccination card fraud, scams

California has at long last re­opened. Vaccines are available to the public, and many social distancing regulations have been relaxed or eliminated alto­gether. These steps toward a re­turn to pre-pandemic normalcy are encouraging, but consumers still need to be cautious about COVID-19 related scams and other fraudulent activity.

Although it appears that Cali­fornia will not be implementing a vaccination passport system, vaccination verification may be necessary to enter some busi­nesses and large events. The government issued COVID-19 Vaccination Record Cards are now the official method of vac­cine verification in California. And of course, that means vac­cination verification has created a market for fraudulent and sto­len vaccine cards nationwide.

The San Diego County Dis­trict Attorney’s Office and other offices across the state have re­ported incidents regarding the attempted sale of official blank vaccination cards. Scammers are also selling forged cards in person and online. In San Diego county, we’ve received reports of social media ads targeting consumers by selling fake vac­cination cards. And, on various social media platforms, fraud­sters have been stealing person­al identifying information from photos of legitimate vaccination cards posted by users.

It is illegal to fraudulently produce vaccina­tion cards bear­ing official U.S. G o v e r n m e n t seals. In some cases, such ac­tions could in­clude charges, such as identity theft and falsi­fying medical records and forg­ery. Currently, an estimated 35% of San Diegans have not been vaccinated, and there is a large population at risk of becoming a victim of any of these predatory schemes. Here are some tips to identify and avoid them:

  • Only official vaccine distributors can provide an official COVID-19 Vaccina­tion Record Card. You can find an official distributor at https:// myturn.ca.gov. Official vaccina­tion cards will always include the name of the person vacci­nated, the type of vaccine pro­vided, and dates of when the doses were administered. The COVID-19 vaccination and the accompanying record card are always free. Any request for money or compensation is a scam.
  • Photos of vaccinations cards are a valid form of vaccine veri­fication in California as well as documentation from a health­care provider. Sharing this in­formation on social media puts your personal identifying infor­mation at risk of theft or fraud. Do not post images of your vac­cination card or medical records on social media.
  • Be cautious about federal or state government imposters. To­day, there is no official national or California vaccine verifica­tion app, certificate, or pass­port. Any contact from the state or federal government asking for personal information or money to obtain these forms of verification are scams and can be reported to the Consumer Protection Unit of the San Di­ego County District Attorney’s Office.
  • Confirm any vaccine verifi­cation policies with all activity and event venues directly. Do not rely on information from third parties about whether vac­ cine verification is needed.
  • Review California’s of­ficial vaccination verifica­tion policy at https://covid19. ca.gov/vaccines before you at­tend an activity or event.
  • Research before you buy or provide personal informa­tion for COVID-19 related goods and services. Always be sure you are dealing with a reputable business and of­ficial or authorized govern­ment entity. Check review sites and scam alerts before moving forward with pur­chases or providing personal information.
  • Monitor the FTC’s scam alerts at https://www.con­sumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts, as well as the San Diego County District Attor­ney’s news page at https:// danewscenter.com/news.

As your District Attorney, I’m committed to increasing communication and accessi­bility between the DA’s Office and the public. I hope these consumer and public safety tips have been helpful.

The Consumer Protection Unit is comprised of Deputy District Attorneys, Investiga­tors and Paralegals dedicated to protecting consumers and law-abiding businesses from fraudulent or unfair busi­ness practices. To report a consumer complaint, you can call (619) 531-3507 or email consumer@sdcda.org

Beware of vaccination card fraud, scams

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