Counterfeiting a Vaccination Card is a Crime: Be on the Lookout for Fakes, says CA Attorney General Rob Bonta
May 22, 2021
Although California officials have repeatedly said they have no plans to institute a "vaccine passport" system in the state, apparently a lively trade in counterfeit vaccination cards has presumed they will not honor their word. How unreasonably suspicious of them!
Adding to the completely unreasonable suspicion that access to public and private places will soon hinge on proof of vaccination, California Attorney General Rob Bonta stresses in a recent press release the dire danger posed by unvaccinated people to the health of others. Because if any retail or public event business believed that, they would not seek to protect themselves from liability by requiring proof of vaccination - of course not!
Meanwhile, make sure to avoid losing your card. To replace it means contacting the provider who gave it to you - an entity which may no longer exist. The government, which has a record of your vaccination, will not replace your last card.
The press release in full is below:
SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Rob Bonta issued a consumer alert today warning Californians not to print fake COVID-19 vaccination record cards at home and not to purchase them from individuals selling counterfeits.
"We are aware of reports that counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination record cards have been advertised on social media websites, e-commerce platforms, and blogs, as a way for individuals to misrepresent themselves as vaccinated," said Attorney General Bonta. "These counterfeit records undermine the health and safety of Californians and are also illegal. I advise you to get your COVID-19 vaccination and the authentic vaccination record that reflects you were vaccinated. Please do not purchase a fraudulent record, do not make your own, and do not fill in blank vaccination record cards with false information."
Authentic vaccination record cards are given, at no cost, to those who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. All Californians, aged 12 and older, are now eligible for a free COVID-19 vaccination, regardless of immigration or health insurance status. Vaccination record cards include information about the type of vaccine the recipient received and when they may be able to receive a second dose. By misrepresenting yourself as vaccinated when entering schools, mass transit, workplaces, gyms, or places of worship, you put yourself and others around you at risk of contracting COVID-19.
In addition to putting community health at risk, forging vaccination records is also a crime. Federal authorities have stated that the unauthorized use of an official government agency's seal (such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is a federal crime, and may be punishable under Section 1017 of Title 18 of the United States Code, and other laws. Additionally, forging or possessing forged documents, like a fake COVID-19 vaccination record card, is a crime in California.
Protect your health and those around you, and stay on the right side of the law. Don't buy, make, or alter vaccination record cards.
To report suspicious activity involving fake COVID-19 vaccination record cards, please take one of the following steps:
File a complaint with the Attorney General's Office at www.oag.ca.gov/report.
Contact your local district attorney's office.
Contact the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-HHS-TIPS or https://oig.hhs.gov/fraud/report-fraud.
File a complaint with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center at https://www.ic3.gov.
Avoid posting photos of your vaccination record card on social media
The Attorney General also recommends that if you have received your COVID-19 vaccine, you refrain from posting photos of your vaccination record card on social media websites because your personal information could be stolen to commit fraud. For more information about the dangers of sharing your vaccination status on social media, see https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2021/02/social-media-no-place-covid-19-vaccination-cards.
Lost your COVID-19 vaccination record card?
The Attorney General urges Californians to keep their vaccination record cards in a safe place to prevent loss or damage. If you need a replacement card, contact your vaccination provider. You can also request your COVID-19 vaccination record from the California Immunization Registry (CAIR) at https://cairforms.cairweb.org/AuthorizationToRelease/AuthorizationToRelease. Keep in mind, CAIR does not provide replacement cards.