Loading...

Posting Vaccine Cards Online Could Attract Scammers

March 29, 2021 by Alexa Hornbeck

As vaccine eligibility expands to those 16 and over in many states, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is warning those getting shots against posting photos of their vaccine cards online. 

“I’ve seen people wanting to be proud and show off that they got their first vaccine, not thinking of the information they were putting out there,” FBI special agent Jeanette Harper told The Well News.  

Vaccine cards are given as “second dose reminders” for when to receive a second shot, as the intervals of when to get a second shot varies depending on what vaccine has been administered and where. 

However, vaccine cards also contain privileged health information such as name, date of birth, type of vaccine, and where and when the individual was vaccinated.  

Which means posting a vaccination card online could result in your vaccine card being scammed. 

“When we work with our partners in the hospitals some of them have noted that they’ve started seeing fake vaccine cards come in, and people trying to show they’ve already received the vaccine but haven’t,” explained Harper.  

Posting a vaccine card online may also unravel patient privacy protections afforded by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as the Kennedy–Kassebaum Act,is a federal statute enacted by the 104th United States Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton on August 21, 1996. 

It was created primarily to modernize the flow of healthcare information, stipulate how personally identifiable information maintained by the health care and health care insurance industries should be protected from fraud and theft, and address limitations on health care insurance coverage.

The HIPAA Privacy Rule regulates the use and disclosure of protected health information  held by “covered entities,” such as health care clearinghouses, employer-sponsored health plans, health insurers, and medical service providers that engage in certain transactions.

“So, say your primary physician provided you with your first vaccine, you’re giving people the ability to reach out to your physician and get your personal records from them,” Harper explained. 

According to a report issued by the Better Business Bureau, scammers have also started selling vaccine cards online for profit. 

In Great Britain, a TikTok user shared a video advertising the sale of vaccination records for £5 and linked a Shopify page where the cards could be purchased.

The Federal Trade Commission reported $117 million in losses from COVID-19 scams only six months into the pandemic. 

Fraudsters will often message from fake social media accounts to offer COVID-19 tests, HHS grants, and Medicare prescription cards in exchange for personal details, as reported by the US Department of Health and Human Services who urges online users to, “ignore offers or advertisements for COVID-19 testing or treatments on social media sites.” 

“We’ve seen text messages to those scammed saying, ‘We found a place where you can get a vaccine, we can get you an appointment here at this location- just text me your personal information and medical information and we will set you up with an appointment,’” explained Sandra Guile, a spokesperson at the Better Business Bureau which tracks scam activity.  

As vaccines become more available to Americans, there will be new scams, and Guile recommends contacting local health departments or local doctor’s offices, and not just clicking on any vaccine information online. 

“And for those wanting to share the excitement of having received the vaccine we just recommend posting the ‘I got vaccinated,” sticker,’” stated Guile.

In The News

Health

Voting

Privacy

June 1, 2022
by Madeline Hughes
Privacy Advocates on High Alert as Roe Decision Looms

WASHINGTON — Data privacy advocates are sounding the alarm as the Supreme Court’s official opinion looms on the Mississippi lawsuit... Read More

WASHINGTON — Data privacy advocates are sounding the alarm as the Supreme Court’s official opinion looms on the Mississippi lawsuit that likely could overturn the precedent for a woman’s right to an abortion set by Roe v. Wade. If the leaked opinion for Dobbs v. Jackson... Read More

May 17, 2022
by Madeline Hughes
Report Details ICE Surveillance Dragnet

WASHINGTON — Weaving together information from public databases and private data brokers, immigration officials have created a vast surveillance system... Read More

WASHINGTON — Weaving together information from public databases and private data brokers, immigration officials have created a vast surveillance system that can be used on nearly any American, regardless of immigration status, according to a new report from Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology. “[Immigration... Read More

May 14, 2022
by Alexa Hornbeck
Health Care Organizations Rally for Abortion Rights in DC

WASHINGTON — Thousands of protestors gathered on Saturday to march for abortion rights from the Washington Monument to the Supreme... Read More

WASHINGTON — Thousands of protestors gathered on Saturday to march for abortion rights from the Washington Monument to the Supreme Court building. The rally, called "Bans Off Our Bodies" was arranged by health organizations and advocates from across the country, such as Planned Parenthood, the American... Read More

Court Rejects Lawsuit Against NSA on "State Secrets" Grounds

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — A divided federal appeals court has upheld the dismissal of an ACLU lawsuit challenging a... Read More

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — A divided federal appeals court has upheld the dismissal of an ACLU lawsuit challenging a portion of the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance of Americans' international email and phone communications.  The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the... Read More

August 30, 2021
by Victoria Turner
FTC Commissioner Says There are Benefits to a Federal Privacy Law

WASHINGTON -- As a number of states move towards enacting their own data privacy laws, the U.S. Congress should come... Read More

WASHINGTON -- As a number of states move towards enacting their own data privacy laws, the U.S. Congress should come up with its own comprehensive privacy statute enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, said FTC Commissioner Noah Phillips Monday. Having one federal privacy law governing data... Read More

June 30, 2021
by Tom Ramstack
Congress Told FBI Often Violates Privacy With Poorly Monitored Internet Warrants

WASHINGTON -- Free press advocates told Congress Wednesday that the Justice Department is out of control in secretly seeking Internet-based... Read More

WASHINGTON -- Free press advocates told Congress Wednesday that the Justice Department is out of control in secretly seeking Internet-based information about its political adversaries. Comments from lawmakers during a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee indicated the FBI and other Justice Department agencies are close... Read More

News From The Well