Houston officials, FBI warn against use of fake vaccination cards

HOUSTON – The list of venues, establishments and government entities that currently or will soon require proof of vaccination is growing, and so is vaccine card fraud.

The fake cards can be bought for cheap on the dark web and sometimes on public online shopping and social media sites.

“They’re very easy to get, and a lot of people are getting them,” Crime Stoppers of Houston CEO Rania Mankarious said in an interview on Monday.

The Attorneys General of 46 states recently signed on to a letter addressed to the CEOs of Twitter, eBay and Shopify demanding they do more to prevent vaccine card fraud.

“[F]ake COVID vaccine cards threaten the health of our communities, slow progress in getting our residents protected from the virus, and are a violation of the laws of many states,” the letter said.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton did not sign the letter. His office did not return a request for comment.

The FBI warned in a recent advisory that buying and selling fake vaccine cards online violates a federal law that protects the HHS and CDC seals found on the card that Americans receive when they get a COVID-19 vaccine shot.

The head of the European Union said Monday only Americans who can prove they were fully vaccinated will be able to travel to Europe this summer. Some international cruise ships also require vaccination proof.

In some states, vaccine cards are required at some gyms, concert venues and other private establishments.

In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott signed an executive order prohibiting any government entity or private establishment that receives state funds from requiring proof of vaccination.

“If you make or buy a fake COVID-19 vaccination record card, you endanger yourself and those around you, and you are breaking the law,” the FBI advisory said.

The victims of the fake cards, Mankarious said, are the establishments that require proof, the unvaccinated person putting him or herself in harm’s way, and the vaccinated persons who expect that others at the establishment also have some immunity.

“We’re all sort of victims of this,” she added. “If you don’t want to get vaccinated, that’s your choice. But I would think of others before you nonchalantly make a copy [of a vaccine card] and go back into the world.”


About the Author:

Emmy and Edward R. Murrow-award winning reporter. Believer, father of five, Ironman finisher. Yo hablo Español.