Officials and experts are warning against sharing COVID-19 vaccination cards on social media, saying it may lead to identity theft.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said Wednesday that doing so gives scammers the opportunity to steal identities or hack financial accounts, because of the information it contains.
“It’s exciting to see so many people eager to share news that they are vaccinated against the coronavirus,” Moody said. “While the vaccine helps protect against the virus, posting your vaccine card on social media opens you up to another type of plague—the epidemic of scammers scouring the internet for personal information they can use to steal your identity or hack financial accounts.”
Moody added that photos of the vaccination cards may also aid scammers in creating counterfeit COVID-19 vaccine documents that appear authentic.
Similarly, Sandra Guile of the International Association of Better Business Bureaus, a nonprofit organization, told “Good Morning America” this week that sharing images of the vaccination cards online may make the posters vulnerable to being targeted by scammers.
“When you release a photo of that card, it has your personal, identifiable information. It’s got your date of birth and your first and last name,” Guile said. “With that information, there are some unsavory individuals out there that [will] try to open up credit cards, buy cell phones, go shopping.”
Guile said people should instead, if they wish, share photos of vaccine stickers, such as the one released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last year that states, ”I got my COVID-19 vaccine!” or a simple thumbs-up photo.
“We’ve all been isolated for the last year-plus and told to stay home. We’re eager and itching to get back to normal life, and that’s all well and good and this is the first step towards that, but the facts still remain that you need to protect your personal information,” she said. “The best thing for people to do right now is to treat their personal information like cash, protect it.”
Guile also urged people to be wary about fraudulent text, phone, and social media messages asking for personal information in exchange for a COVID-19 vaccine.
“Sadly this is the type of situation that scammers look for,” she said. “We’re in the middle of a pandemic, there’s a lot of information going out right now from a lot of different sources, people are kind of wary on where they find the correct information and how they get the vaccine.”
Anyone asking for personal information or money unprompted is most likely a scammer, Guile said.
“If someone were to approach you, and you haven’t reached out to them in the first place, they’re phishing for information that they should not get from you,” she said. “If you see a phone number pop up on your cell phone or landline that is not familiar, don’t answer it. Let it go to your voicemail.”