Fake COVID-19 cards on the rise as more employers, colleges require vaccination

Fake COVID-19 vaccine cards are on the rise
Fake COVID-19 vaccine cards are on the rise(Alayna Chapie/KFVS)
Published: Aug. 13, 2021 at 9:56 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis Customs and Border Protection officers seized thousands of counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards destined for states across the U.S.

Investigators say the fake cards were shipped to Memphis from Southeast China.

“Just over a week ago they started catching these nightly packages of counterfeit vaccine cards going to different locations around the country and transitioning through Memphis,” said Matthew Syman with U.S. Customer and Border Protection.

Dyman says the counterfeit vaccine cards came in packets of 20, 50, and 100. Officers flagged the suspicious shipment, described in the manifest as Paper Card Paper, because it was the 15th shipment of the night. They found low-quality blank vaccination cards with a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) logo on it.

Dyman says there were typos, unfinished words, and misspelled Spanish words on the back. It was also the first time the officers had seen the shipper. The cards were destined to the central business district of New Orleans.

“They’re catching 100s of these packages, counterfeit cards going all over the U.S.,” he said.

Dyman says the packages were sent from Shenzhen, China, which is north of Hong Kong. Likely, the address in China was bogus but investigators know where the packages were supposed to go in the U.S. Investigators say the packages were mainly to residential addresses and some businesses.

The CDC warns that fake COVID-19 vaccine cards are on the rise with more employers and colleges requiring people to be vaccinated. In many places, proof of vaccine is required to dine in at restaurants.

Dyman says he is not sure how the counterfeit cards are being sold, but some of the cards have popped up on various internet sites.

The Shelby County Health Department did not have an official statement about the counterfeit cards, but noted a person’s vaccination status can be verified through the state’s vaccination website.

“If you don’t want to get the vaccine, don’t misrepresent yourself. It’s a danger to people around you and it’s illegal,” said Dyman

The FBI warns buying or selling counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards can lead to fines and up to five years in prison.

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