Think twice before sharing your COVID-19 vaccination card on social media

Rachel Grumman Bender
·3 min read

Although you may be tempted to share a selfie holding your vaccination card on social media after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is urging people not to. Doing so could make it easier for people to steal your identity or help scammers create fake versions of the vaccine card.

The bureau issued the warning on Jan. 29, stating: “The self-identifying information on it makes you vulnerable to identity theft and can help scammers create phony versions.”

An Orange County firefighter holds his vaccination card after receiving the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine in Irvine, California, U.S., January 27, 2021. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
The Better Business Bureau is warning people not to share photos of their vaccination cards on social media. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

The organization explained that vaccination cards have full names and birthdays listed on them, along with where you received your vaccine. “If your social media privacy settings aren’t set high, you may be giving valuable information away for anyone to use,” the organization stated.

The BBB also shared that scammers in Great Britain were caught selling fake vaccination cards on eBay and TikTok. “It’s only a matter of time before similar cons come to the United States and Canada,” the organization stated. “Posting photos of your card can help provide scammers with information they can use to create and sell phony ones.”

However, it appears that COVID-19 related scams are already happening throughout the U.S. In December 2020, the FBI issued an alert about “emerging fraud schemes” related to COVID-19. The FBI, along with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), has received “complaints of scammers using the public’s interest in COVID-19 vaccines to obtain personally identifiable information (PII) and money through various schemes,” according to the statement. The FBI is urging people not to share their personal or health information with anyone other than known and trusted medical professionals.

“It's a growing problem,” Nenette Day, an assistant special agent in charge of the watchdog arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recently told AARP. “We're going to start seeing these types of scams increase.”

If you’d like to share with friends and family on social media that you are vaccinated, the BBB has some safer suggestions: Share your vaccine sticker or use a frame around your profile photo instead. Also, “check your security settings on all social media platforms to see what you are sharing and with whom,” suggests the organization. “If you only want friends and family to see your posts, be sure that’s how your privacy settings are configured.”

The BBB also recommends being cautious when it comes to social media trends in general. “Think twice before participating in other viral personal posts, such as listing all the cars you’ve owned (including makes/model years), favorite songs and top 10 TV shows,” said the organization. “Some of these ‘favorite things’ are commonly used passwords or security questions.”

For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC’s and WHO’s resource guides.

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