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Utah police, health officials discuss fake COVID-19 vaccination cards

Posted at 9:28 PM, Dec 06, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY — You’ve heard stories of underage college students trying to use fake IDs to get into bars, but could vaccine cards now be the new, coveted illegal ID?

From nightclubs and restaurants, to concerts and athletic events, required COVID-19 vaccination identification is becoming more common.

But are all those cards being presented by friends, strangers and co-workers legitimate?

A study released in November found that 28% of unvaccinated workers would “somewhat or strongly consider lying about their COVID vaccination status or fabricating documents in order to keep their jobs.”

READ: Utah reports 3,457 COVID cases, 32 deaths the weekend after omicron arrives

Drew Scown, a supervisory special agent with the FBI, says fraudsters see the paper cards as fast cash, and they've become popular during the pandemic.

“Anytime that there’s an opportunity to make some money illicitly, there’s going to be people who take that opportunity,” Scown said.

FOX 13 found replicated blank COVID vaccine record cards for sale on social media.

There's even an international certificate of vaccination advertising ‘COVID-19 proof’ on the front cover — one of many being sold on Amazon.

Compared to a driver’s license, a passport, or even a one-dollar bill, the design of the vaccination cards is simple and easy to duplicate.

We asked the Utah Department of Health why they weren’t more official, to which spokesman Tom Hudachko replied that the cards were designed and distributed by the CDC, and the state's health department had nothing to do with them.

Trying to skirt around rules set in place is criminal activity, the FBI says, and it is a violation of federal law to replicate vaccine record cards.

In March of this year, the FBI sent out a PSA explaining the dangers of falsifying a federal document — a violation punishable with a fine and up to 5 years in prison.

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Then, in July, a 41-year-old woman from Napa, California was the first to be charged for falsifying vaccine cards.

More arrests followed. Among them was a registered nurse working at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Detroit. She was charged with stealing authentic COVID-19 vaccination record cards and selling them online for $150-200 each.

An Illinois woman was also arrested in Hawaii, accused of falsifying a vaccine card to skip the state’s mandatory quarantine for unvaccinated visitors.

Misspelling “Moderna” on the card might have been the giveaway.

Agent Scown says although this activity has been discovered in Utah, no one in the Beehive State has been charged, yet. He added that the biggest way they find out about illegal activity is by being tipped off. He also warns all Utahns to not buy, sell or trade illegal documents.