Why experts say you shouldn’t share photos of your COVID-19 vaccination card online

Experts say you’re risking both identity and medical identity theft

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Life during COVID-19, as the saying goes, has been one thing after another. The latest thing — vaccination card panic.

While having proof of vaccination can feel like a get out of jail free card, it’s raising new concerns for some.

Social media feeds are flooding with pictures of completed vaccine cards. With people eager for life to get back to normal, it’s understandable.

However, experts are warning not to share photos of vaccination cards online for a number of reasons.

“Don’t display personal identifying information on the internet because people want it, and they’re not nice people,” Dr. Dave Murphy says.

Dr. Murphy has spent the majority of his life working with computers, including several years in government cyber security around the world.

When a person gets a COVID-19 vaccine, they’re given a small card listing their full name, date of birth, as well as the location, date and type of dose.

It’s the kind of information Dr. Murphy says fraudsters can thrive off of.

“It’s extremely dangerous to post those two pieces of information,” he says. “Date of birth and your full name are a no, no because then it’s pretty easy for someone to steal your identity and become you.”

Aside from identity theft, there is also a risk of medical identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission warns this could include receiving bills for medical services never received.

Experts also warn of card duplication. According to Business Insider, scammers can create fake vaccine cards based upon images online.

Now throw in the fact that vaccine incentives are being offered nationwide — it’s essential to know who is offering the prize before you show your card.

“I would tell them it’s not worth it. You may not know who is offering the prize,” Dr. Murphy says. “It can be a scammer offering a prize that no one is ever going to win, but they’re going to win your personal identifying information.”

Dr. Murphy says there are things that can help offer protection if one is set on sharing. He suggests covering up the identifying information on the card, posting a picture of a vaccine sticker or telling loved ones in person.

Anyone who has concerns or falls victim to a vaccination card scam is encouraged to call the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at 800-447-8477.

About the Author:

Kortney joined the 10 News team as a Lynchburg Bureau Reporter in May 2021.